PASTORS AND PARISH STAFF
We appreciate your interest in SPRED. The following are frequently asked questions which will provide a base of information that we hope will inspire further exploration of this site.
Who is served by SPRED?
SPRED serves children and adults with various developmental and cognitive disabilities such as Down's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, anyone in the Autism Spectrum, seizure disorders. Participation starts at the age of 6 throughout adulthood.
What are sacramental requirements/readiness markers?
"The preparation for sacramental initiation is not made up primarily of truths to be explained but activities to be lived together beginning in the SPRED faith community. Participating in SPRED prepares our Friends (those with developmental disabilities) for the assembly of worship and sacramental life."
"Agreeing to belong to the assembly, developing a sense of the sacred during catechesis and willingly sharing food and drink with others during Agape (meal of fellowship) indicates readiness for sacramental participation."
"Catechesis, sacrament and liturgy go hand in hand. One influences the other. After a sacramental celebration, the SPRED catechist deepens the person's awareness by calling to mind, remembering, all the elements of the event. SPRED sessions draw on past experiences to bring meaning to future celebrations." SPRED Newsletter May 2011
The leader catechist contacts the pastor when a SPRED participant exhibits readiness and desire to celebrate the sacraments.
What does it take to start a SPRED program in my parish?
It takes volunteers, locating persons with disabilities, a space to meet, financial support, and a willingness to respond to the gospel message.
- Inform your parishioners about SPRED through your church bulletin, announcements at Mass and directing them to the SPRED website.
- Identify a parishioner who will volunteer to host an Information Meeting and gather interested families/caregivers and potential SPRED volunteers. SPRED often starts with one or two resourceful people.
- Discern who will participate as the 8 volunteers to form the SPRED community. Among those 8 volunteers, discern who will be the SPRED Chairperson to oversee the program and be the point of contact for your parish. For further information on roles, responsibilities and training of the catechist click here.
- Discern the age group to be served according to the needs of the parish as well as SPRED demographics of the area i.e. are there other parishes hosting a particular age group in the area? The SPRED Chairperson will lead the effort to identify all children and adults with developmental disabilities living in the parish and will collaborate with chairpersons in neighboring parishes for age appropriate placement.
- Identify a parish space that is available and will best support the SPRED process.
- Work out a calendar in view of the availability of the meeting space for the SPRED Sessions and the schedules of the friends and volunteers. There are a total of 24 sessions per year, 12 are catechist preparation sessions (for catechists only) and 12 are for the total community which includes the Friends and catechists.
- The SPRED budget is decided by the pastor and/or business manager based on the needs of the SPRED program. The SPRED budget may be supplemented by the fundraising efforts of the SPRED community and families in a variety of ways such as the Tootsie Roll Drive by the Knights of Columbus, Candy and Nuts Sales, Garage Sales, Raffles, Ice Cream Socials etc.
How can we make Mass more accessible to those with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities?
SPRED communities are encouraged to participate at Mass. Adaptations are designed to honor our friends with developmental disabilities and draw them more fully into the celebration of the Mass. Onsite liturgy training is provided upon request to catechists and priests in anticipation of hosting a SPRED Family Mass in their parish setting.
The more powerful the liturgical experiences; the more meaningful the catechesis. SPRED sessions draw on liturgical experiences enriched by the inclusion and participation of all.
Click here for more information on SPRED Family Masses.
Please contact the SPRED Center Staff for additional information at SPRED@archchicago.org or by calling 312-842-1039 or contact Julia Hess as indicated below.