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Pastoral Outreach

Disabilities Ministry

1. Disabilities Ministry

Every person, regardless of their physical and mental abilities, has the right to a full life in the Church and deserves the support of parishes and church staff. The Diocese of Joliet is an inclusive diocese, and we believe in including everyone in the ministries and programs offered at our parishes.

Sacramental Preparation

The disAbilities ministry of the diocese of Joliet fosters the full inclusion of people will all disabilities into the life of the church and serves as a pastoral resource for parishes, families, and individuals in providing welcome and access to persons with disabilities. The disAbilities ministry has been following the mandates of the United States Conference Catholic Bishops as stated in their pastoral statement on persons with disabilities.

What We Do

Our ministry goal is to follow Jesus’s example and continue His earthly ministry of bringing healing and salvation to all, but in a special way to the people we serve.

  • Promote awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities within the Diocese of Joliet.
  • Assist in developing policies for working with persons with disabilities and translating those policies into practical strategies.
  • Create best practices for ministering to persons with disabilities and recognize those efforts that are already happening in the Diocese of Joliet.
  • Serve as advocates for individuals with disabilities who are seeking help from other agencies.
  • Provide persons with disabilities with catechesis, sacramental prep and opportunities to participate in programs of communal and individual prayer and celebrations that direct us all toward continued participation in the sacramental life of the Church.

Board of Directors

Renata Cichowicz, pastoral outreach lead
Lisa DiFranco, chair
Rick Mason, vice chair
Jeanne McDonald, vice chair
Kathleen Hartke, secretary


Renata Cichowicz
Phone: (815) 221-6245
[email protected]

Resources for Families and Parishes

4. Disabilities Ministry Resources [Accordion]

Adapted Religious Education

There are several special religious education program models available depending upon the needs of your parish. Training is available through the Disabilities Ministry for religious education directors and catechists upon request.

USCCB Documents

Resources for individuals with developmental disabilities

NCPD Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Ministerio Hispano

Resources for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing

Resources for Individuals who are blind or have vision loss

Training and resources for catechists

  • Resources for Special Needs — Includes curricula, websites, activity books, Bibles, apps, videos, songs, and special needs products



Religious Education/Sacramental Preparation Programs for Persons with Disabilities in the Diocese of Joliet




Meeting Date

Meeting Time


Sacramental Prep


Notre Dame Parish
64 Norfolk Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL
(630) 654-3365

REACH – Religious Education Apostolate for Christian Handicapped K–6 Sunday 10:55 a.m.– 12:05 p.m. Weekly; see schedule here  

Debbie Macaluso  [email protected]
(630) 601-1762

Mary Baker
[email protected]          (630) 601-1757

St. Anne Parish
551 Boulder Hill Pass
P.O. Box 670
Oswego, IL 60543
(630) 554-1425

SPICE – Special People Included in Catholic Environments





First Communion and Confirmation

Cathy Gilooly
[email protected]
(630) 554-1425


SPICE for Teens

Junior High (up to 18)


3–4:30 p.m.
Parents meet at the same time


First Communion and Confirmation

Jenine Boes
(630) 554-2502
(630) 551-4862
[email protected]

St. Raphael Parish
1215 Modaff Rd.
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 355-4545

REACH – Religious Education Apostolate for Christian Handicapped



9:30–11 a.m.

Twice a month

First Communion and Confirmation

Jeanne McDonald
[email protected]
(630) 615-7614


FUN Group

18 years and up


9:30–11 a.m.

Twice a month



Cathedral of St. Raymond
604 N. Raynor Avenue
Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 722-6653

REACH – Religious Education Apostolate for Christian Handicapped



4:45–6 p.m.

Twice a month

First Communion and Confirmation

Madonna Wojtaszek-Healy [email protected]

Catechists: Peggy O’Brien, Sandra Campbell


St. Mary Parish
19515 115th Ave.
Mokena, IL
(708) 326-9356

REACH – Religious Education Apostolate for Christian Handicapped



4:30–5:30 p.m.


First Communion and Confirmation

Tami Brongiel
[email protected]


St. Mary Immaculate Parish
15629 South Route 59
Plainfield, IL

REACH – Religious Education Apostolate for Christian Handicapped

Grades 1–8

Monday and Thursday

Monday 6:30– 7:15 p.m. (Grades 7/8)

Thursday 5–5:45 p.m. (Grades 1–6)


First Communion and Confirmation

Geri Morse
(815) 436-4501



Sts. Peter and Paul
36 N. Ellsworth Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 355-1081

REACH – Religious Education Apostolate for Christian Handicapped





First Communion and Confirmation

Theresa Pratt
[email protected]
(630) 357-2436


Visitation Parish
779 S. Work Street
Elmhurst, IL 60126
(630) 279-7058, ext. 502

SPRED (Special Religious Education Development)

Ages 13–40

Wednesday Evenings

6:30–8 p.m.

Three times a month (September to April)


Melanie Schneider
[email protected]
(630) 209-0064


  1. One faith formation session with special friends per month

  2. One social event with special friends per month

  3. One catechist some faith formation session per month (catechist only)

In a SPRED community, we are called to belong. Within the community of SPRED we find friendship and love. In this environment we can hear the call of God and live in harmony with God’s will for us. SPRED catechetical experiences prepare the way for inclusion in the liturgical celebration of our Church.


Additional Resources


2. Disabilities Ministry Events [Accordion]

Join Madonna Wojtaszek-Healy for the first session of a program designed to support couples and single parents who have children with disABILITIES. The program begins with an in-person meeting at the Blanchette Catholic Center, followed by monthly online sessions and quarterly in-person meetings througout the diocese.

More details

September 29, 2024
12:30 p.m.

Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus
604 North Raynor Avenue
Joliet, IL 60435

The Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Ronald Hicks; refreshments and fellowship to follow. Those with disABILITIES, and their caregivers, will receive a special blessing. The Mass will be interpreted for the deaf by an ASL interpreter.

Event info

Renata Cichowicz
Phone: (815) 221-6245
[email protected]


Parents and caregivers of those with disABILITIES attended the Diocese of Joliet's second-annual retreat on Saturday, October 26, 2024, at the Blanchette Catholic Center in Crest Hill. The event will include Mass, confessions, breakout sessions, spiritual direction, Eucharistic adoration, and fellowship.

Event Info

Video recordings of the 2023 keynote speech and two of the breakout sessions were recorded for those who were unable to attend; please see the link below.  

2023 Retreat Photo Gallery

Renata Cichowicz
Phone: (815) 221-6245
[email protected]