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.



November Celebration

Join the National Catholic Partnership on Disability to Celebrate 40+ Years of Ministry

Recognizing the Body of Christ
November 8 - 9, 2019

Washington DC Area Events:
Friday, Nov. 8th: 6pm - 9:30pm
Dinner Awarding Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight,
Knights of Columbus and Honoring Janice Benton,
retiring NCPD executive director
Rosensteel Hall, Silver Spring MD
Saturday, Nov. 9th: 9am – 3:30pm
Symposium - A Theological Engagement on Disability
Co-sponsored by the Institute for Human Ecology at
The Catholic University of America, Washington DC
Visit or email for further information.



Let us take this month of April, Autism Awareness Month, to challenge ourselves to learn more about the ways in which we can accommodate the needs of those in our community who experience autism so that they may participate more fully, and to seek out and celebrate the richness of the gifts they have to offer.


Tomemos este mes como un reto para aprender nuevas maneras en que podemos responder a las necesidades de personas con Autismo, para que puedan tener una participación mas plena en la Iglesia y mostremos y celebremos los dones que ellos tienen para ofrecer a su comunidad de fe.



Prayers of the Faithful 

English          Spanish

Bulletin Announcement 

English          Spanish         Vietnamese

Embracing Persons with Autism 

Diocese of Columbus 

English          Spanish

Mass without Tears 

Diocese of Toledo 


Tips for Welcoming People with Disabilities at Mass

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Helpful Information for Ordinary and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion Related to Persons with Disabilities                                      

Archdiocese of Philadelphia



Loyola Press Opening Doors Parish Award 2018

Congratulations to St. Patrick church in in Providence, RI for receiving the the 2018 Loyola Press Opening Doors Parish Award. 

Father James Ruggieri (pictured) has been the driving force behind all the wonderful things that have been happening in St. Patrick for people with disabilities and all his parishioners the last fifteen years! 
Conratulations to Fr. Ruggieri and all who have contributed in making St. Patrick's such a vibrant parish!

For more information about St. Patrick go to



NCBC Two-day Seminars

NCBC Two-day Seminars:

Catholic Healthcare Ethics:
A Tradition of Compassion and Care for the Human Person

Each Fall The National Catholic Bioethics Center presents a series of two-day seminars in various cities across the United States to address current topics in bioethics. Required for those participating in the Center's National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics, these seminars are open to all engaged in, or preparing to engage in health care ministries consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.  These seminars are intended to benefit health care workers, clergy, those involved in research in the life sciences, members of ethics committees, and others who provide spiritual support and counsel to patients and their families. Those interested in understanding and advancing the Church’s moral tradition in health care will also find them accessible and informative.

Seminar Sites in 2019:

  • Austin, TX (January 11 & 12, 2019) — Seton Healthcare Family Administration Offices — schedule

  • Bismarck, ND (August 9 & 10, 2019) — University of Mary

  • Philadelphia, PA (September 6 & 7, 2019) — Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 222 N. 17th St.

  • New York, NY (September 20 & 21, 2019) — The Priory of St. Catherine of Siena, 411 E. 68th St. .


2018 Highlights

 Click on the image below to open up a pdf which documents some of the highlights of NCPD's achievements this year. Thanks for all the support from so many who made these possible!


Holiday Tips

Tips for Enhancing the Holiday Experience

Happy Kids for Christmas

It’s typical for children to become over stimulated and stressed with all the activities surrounding the holiday season. Children with social and behavioral challenges may have the most difficulty adapting to schedule changes, visits to unfamiliar places, and introductions to new people and foods. The following tips give parents and caregivers some ways to maintain the joy of the season.

Click Here



Coping with the Holidays
(Bi-lingual Summary)

Mental Illness:
Coping with the Holidays

Bringing Peace back
into the Holiday Season

Click Here

Click Here

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