A Pastoral Response to Mental Illness

May is Mental Health Month

A Pastoral Response to Mental Illness

The  Pastoral Response to Mental Illness is the newest resource available from the NCPD Council on Mental Illness.

 Click here for your free download. To order copies of this booklet (single or in bulk), please contact NCPD at ncpd@ncpd.org or (202) 529-2933.

Why is this important to my parish community? 

A mental illness is a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines (Mental Health America).

Do people with mental illness feel welcome in my parish? 

The stigma attached to mental illness forces many to hide the severity of their symptoms or those of a loved one. Many stop coming to church due to the stigma. Stigma is the single greatest barrier to people getting effective treatment. Leaders of a parish, diocese, or other Catholic organizations can fight stigma by learning the signs of mental illness and reaching out to those living with the illness.

Is recovery possible?

People can and do recover from mental illness. Recovery is the ability to live a fulfilling and productive life, to be a member of a community despite the continuing challenges of living with a mental illness.  

Recovery can be thought of as a table with four legs. All four legs must be whole, strong and firmly attached for recovery to take hold. This depends on access to help that includes the four legs of recovery 

To order copies of this booklet please contact NCPD at ncpd@ncpd.org, or (202) 529-2933.


Revision of Guidelines for the Celebration of Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities online at the USCCB


The Guidelines have been published at the USCCB site found below. The Guidelines are the culmination of years of work and were approved by the Bishops last month at their annual meeting in June 2017. 

A text of the Guidelines as well as a pdf version can be found in the Policies section of Divine Worship at the USCCB, (click here).  

A highlights of the Revisions can be found by clicking here.

NCPD wishes to express gratitude to the USCCB committees which produced the revision, especially Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz for their efforts, as well as NCPD staff, Board and Council members.


2017 Loyola Press Opening Doors Award Winner 


December 22, 2016
Contact: Janice L. Benton
Washington, DC office
Loyola Press 2017 “Opening Doors” Award Winner Announced
Washington, DC – The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), in partnership with Loyola Press, is pleased to announce Saint Rose of Lima Parish, Gaithersburg, Maryland as the recipient of the Loyola Press 2017 “Opening Doors” Parish Award. The parish will receive from Loyola Press $1000 and a plaque.

Three judges, representing the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon and Dioceses of Wichita and Des Moines selected Saint Rose of Lima Parish after reviewing numerous applications from across the United States. In their review, the judges looked at ways parishes demonstrate a deep commitment to parishioners with disabilities providing access for full participation in all aspects of parish life: sacramental, catechetical, social, ministerial, and community service.

Judge Kelsey Rea, Director of the Office for People with Disabilities in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, noted that: “The inclusive ministries of Saint Rose of Lima Parish are exemplary on all levels and are a wonderful model for other parishes across the country.  It is clear that the full and active participation of everyone in all facets of parish life is very important, desired, and intentional, which leads all parishioners to a deeper life of faith and service as one Body of Christ.”
Upon learning of the award selection, Marsha Rivas, Chair of the NCPD Board of Directors, stated: “We are so pleased with the selection of St. Rose of Lima Parish for the Loyola Press Opening Doors Parish Award. We commend them for the many ways in which they have found to accommodate their parishioners with disabilities in order to enhance their service to and participation within the parish.”

The award will be presented to the pastor and parish community in the New Year by Janice Benton, NCPD Executive Director who notes: “Through this award I am pleased to acknowledge the work and compassion of Fr. Agustin Mateo Ayala and the staff and parishioners of Saint Rose of Lima Parish. One unique way in which the parish supports individuals with intellectual disability is through a group home located on the parish property.  While an independent agency operates the group home, the parish reaches out to the residents in friendship and support, inviting them to actively participate in the life of the parish.  This model is one that we hope is replicated throughout the country.” She adds, “We thank Loyola Press for their commitment to serving individuals with disabilities through their products and training, and their sponsorship of this award.”

By granting this award to Saint Rose of Lima Parish, NCPD and Loyola Press hope to show parishes large and small, old and new, that sowing seeds of welcome to persons with disabilities and making accommodations for all to partake at the Lord’s Table produces a bountiful harvest that nourishes the entire parish.

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 Loyola Press is a Catholic publishing company providing materials and resources for catechists as well as all Catholics to grow in a greater knowledge and understanding of their faith. Loyola Press has been active in facilitating greater inclusion for people with disabilities in the church through their adaptive sacramental preparation kits and the Adaptive Finding God curriculum. Their mission, as appears on their website (loyolapress.com) states, “Loyola Press is much more than a publishing company. As a Jesuit Ministry, we strive to help you find God in all things and develop a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As an apostolate of the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (commonly known as the Jesuits), Loyola Press embraces the Jesuit passion for helping people to find God in all things. We continue the Jesuit tradition of excellence and service through the content we create and by being people for others.”
Since 1982, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) has served the
U.S. Catholic Church by providing resources, training, consultation and advocacy for the estimated
14 million U.S. Catholics who live with disability.
Visit www.ncpd.org for more information on NCPD’s programs and services.