Faith, Deafness and Disabilities Conference

March 19, 2012

In the Catholic Church, all are welcome across the life span. This is also the theme at the Archdiocese of Washington’s Fourth Annual Faith, Deafness and Disabilities Conference. The Archdiocese of Washington is the only diocese in North America to host such a conference. A Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Barry C. Knestout, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Washington, and will also include several workshops.

Saturday, April 21, 2012
Registration opens at 8:00 a.m., Mass at 5:00 p.m.
Blessed Sacrament School
5841 Chevy Chase Parkway, NW
Washington, DC

The conference will showcase how archdiocesan program and local communities work together to support those with special needs. Information about new community-based programs, Catholic faith-based programs, and ready resources available for persons who are Deaf and persons with disabilities, their families, friends and advocates will be presented. The conference will address a broad range of topics, including legal and financial issues, recreation programs, new resources in sacramental preparation and adult faith formation, and transition supports.

Simultaneous Spanish and ASL translation will be provided. Additionally, resource teachers from Catholic schools will volunteer their time to provide child care for children with special needs, allowing their parents to focus on the workshops.

The morning session will feature music from Tony Melendez, who was born without arms after his mother was prescribed thalidomide; a drug once used to help calm morning sickness. Tony learned to use his feet for his day to day care, and even became an expert guitar player. In 1987, he performed for Pope John Paul II.

The keynote presentation will be made by Rev. William Byrne, Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concern in the Archdiocese of Washington. He will speak about the state of the ministry and how the good work of those advocating on belief of the special needs community is fostering a future of hope.

The primary sponsor of the conference is Potomac Community Resources, Inc., which provides recreational and social opportunities for teens and adults with developmental differences. The president, James Sullivan, will speak about how to create parish-based opportunities to help meet the needs of those with special needs. Other sponsors include the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute of Catholic Charities; which has provided services and support for infants, children and adults with disabilities for more than 50 years.

For more information or to register, click here or contact Peg Kolm, Department of Special Needs Ministries at 301-853-4560 or [email protected]

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics, 140 parishes and 98 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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