As part of a continued effort to support local parishes in welcoming and including people with disabilities, the Diocese sponsored a Disability Awareness Conference yesterday at Holy Spirit Parish in Shields.
About 170 attendees from across the diocese and the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, gathered for Mass, speakers, breakout sessions and praise music.
Keynote speaker Jan Benton, executive director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, shared ways parishes can create an environment of belonging for all. Breakout sessions addressed sacramental guidelines for clergy, sacramental preparation for faith formation leaders, sacramental preparation in Spanish and how to create "belonging" parishes.
“The Catholic Church has a particular concern and love for people who are marginalized or forgotten," said Lori Becker, respect life coordinator for the Diocese of Saginaw, this is why it’s so important to be more welcoming to people with disabilities."
Following the powerful personal testimonies of Melissa and Michaela Davert, who live with a brittle bone condition called osteogenesis imperfecta. The day ended with praise and worship music.
The Disability Awareness Conference was a collaboration between the Respect Life, Christian Service, Faith Formation and Liturgy offices of the diocese.