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 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, 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.


May is Mental Health Month


Mark your Calendar NOW for Mental Health Month!!


Did you know that one out of every four families experiences mental illness?  When your parish gathers, nearly everyone there will know someone who has a mental illness of varying severity and length.  Because of the stigma attached to it, few will come forward, but it is there.

 Click for resources.



The Council on Mental Illness a part of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability has posted resources for dioceses, agencies, parishes and individuals to become more aware of the pastoral concerns of persons with mental illness and their families.  Prayers, bulletin articles, suggestions for activities, and other resources are posted at the Metal Health Month page at the link above.  

As you prepare for the busy month of May take a look at some simple but effective actions you can take to raise awareness, educate and to help our church be a vibrant place of welcome/support for those who are effected by mental illness. 


Send e-mail to 



Welcomed and Valued now Available in Spanish

NCPD is pleased to announce the availability of the Welcomed and Valued resource manual in Spanish.

The Resource Manual features 90+ pages of information, perspectives and tools to assist in the ministry with people with mental illness.


Download it here free for a limited time.
Click here for Spanish cover.

Download the English version here.




Ethics Committee Statement on Massachusetts Initiative

NCPD Ethics Committee Issues Statement

Why People with Disabilities Have an Interest in Defeating Initiative Petition 1112

Initiative Petition 1112 will allow Massachusetts residents to ask their physicians for lethal medication to kill themselves. Presently, it authorizes only those with terminal diseases to make such request. Nevertheless, if adopted, it will create a real threat to all people with disabilities.

The fact is that people with terminal diseases are disabled. Under Massachusetts law, “handicap” includes any physical impairment that “substantially limits one or more major life activities [,]” such as “caring for one's self,” “performing manual tasks,” or even “breathing.” Few, if any, terminal diseases would fall outside such definition.


The Initiative Petition is merely the first step toward making lethal medication available to all those with severe disabilities.

If loss of autonomy and loss of dignity are accepted as valid reasons for killing oneself, it will legitimate the prejudice that has long underlaid treatment of disabled people as second-class. The citizens of Massachusetts should utterly reject “the view that an acceptable answer to discrimination and prejudice is to assure the ‘right to die’ to those against whom the discrimination and prejudice exists.
Accordingly, people with disabilities have good reason to oppose this deeply flawed initiative petition.





An exploration of the historical and current significance of the 1978
Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities
$50 per person 
$35 per person for students, clergy, seminarians, and people with disabilities
3 people designated by Bishops of affiliate dioceses can attend the symposium for free!
Symposium keynote speaker: 
Miguel J. Romero, Th.D.

Dr. Miguel Romero is assistant professor of Religious & Theological Studies at Salve Regina University (RI), member of K of C council 379, and NCPD Board member. His published work is in moral theology, Catholic social teaching, theological method, and the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. Romero recently presented at the Vatican on sacramental catechesis during the "Catechesis & Persons with Disability Conference," sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. Romero’s forthcoming book is entitled Destiny of the Wounded Creature: St. Thomas Aquinas on Disability.  

Living Out One’s Baptismal Call
Individuals with disabilities in the Church will share their experience of living out their call to discipleship. Speakers will be announced soon!
Disability Outreach: Building on Strong Foundations
Panel discussion on the development of the pastoral response to disability in the United States. The panel will be facilitated by Janice Benton, executive director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability.
Discussion and Networking  
Converse with other symposium participants to discuss how members of the Church can more fully recognize one another as members of the Body of Christ. Participants will network with one another to plan future disability initiatives within Catholic parishes and dioceses.

Stay tuned for further registration details!

For more information, please contact us



40th Anniversary of Pastoral Statement

Make plans NOW to join us for...

Recognizing the Body of Christ: NCPD Past, Present, and Future

A Celebration of 40 Years of Ministry Inspired by the Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities

Thursday, November 15

Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Washington, DC
1:00 - 5:30 p.m
6:00 p.m.
Principal Celebrant, Donald Cardinal Wuerl
7:00 p.m. 
40th Anniversary Reception, Dinner, Awards, & Silent Auction


Dinner and Reception

$250 per person

$200 per person for ministry personnel, clergy, and people with disabilities

Dinner and Honoree Reception

$500 per person

Opportunity to meet awardees and other ministry guests at a VIP cocktail hour


Dinner Awardees:

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
 President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and former NCPD Episcopal Moderator 

Carl Anderson 
Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus

Stay tuned for further registration details! 

For more information, please contact us



Statement Regarding 13 Reasons Why, Season Two

 Statement from the NCPD Council on Mental Illness Regarding Season Two of 13 Reasons Why.

There are a number of resources available on the web for families, clergy, pastoral ministers, educators, and other caring adults to utilize in learning about the series, how to respond in working with youth, and other important factors and issues. Click on the image below for the PDF to discover them and more information.

Statement on 13 Reasons Why, Season Two


Save the Date for an NCPD Event


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Join the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) in
Recognizing the Body of Christ: NCPD Past, Present & Future, with a
Symposium, Mass, Dinner and Silent Auction.
Save the Date - November 15, 2018 




Resources for Autism Awareness Month

 Resources for Autism Awareness Month

 Resource Link
 Autism Awareness English   PDF
 Autism Awareness Prayer Month Bilingual   PDF
 Autism Awareness Spanish   PDF
 Oraciones de los Fieles para la Misa   PDF
 Prayers of the Faithful Autism Awareness Month   PDF



NCPD Video Premieres at Vatican Conference on Catechesis and Persons with Disability:

A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church

Caption Text Translations





 We were so pleased to plan and conduct the exciting international conference on Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church.
NCPD, National Catholic Office for the Deaf, and Catholic leaders of the United States were part of the delegation of more than 35 attendees to the Vatican conference.
We all were moved by the private audience with Pope Francis who wanted to meet more than 430 catechists and Catholic leaders from all around the world who attended the conference. It was a beautiful experience for all of us.
We would like to share the treasured moments of the conference: Inauguration of the Exhibition, Resources, Speakers, Audience with Pope Francis, Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and a video that NCPD created for the conference with people from all around the world who have disabilities and gifts to bring to the faith community  as part of the Body of Christ.

October 20-22, 2017

Held in Rome at the Pontifical University Urbaniana

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