SPRED Partners is grateful to have received a grant from The Catholic Community Foundation to help promote the growth of SPRED in urban parishes in 2017.
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The History of SPRED
In 1964 the SPRED Agency in the Archdiocese of Chicago was established. SPRED has its roots in the Method Vivre -- work done by the French researchers, Fr. Eucharist Paulhus and Fr. Jean Mesny. The method was adopted by Fr. James McCarthy, Sr. Mary Therese Harrington, S.H. and Sr. Susanne Gallagher, S.P. who embraced a vision and a method for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.* These founders named it SPRED (Special Religious Development). Today, there are over 160 thriving SPRED parishes in Chicago, as well as active programs in 12 archdioceses across the United States and 11 countries worldwide.
SPRED was introduced to the Milwaukee area in 2003. Rev. Thomas Brundage and Rev. Joseph Juknialis, pastors at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, both understood the significance of offering a specialized program to families with children having special needs. Through their pastoral support and the leadership of parent and volunteer, Rosemarie Feiza-Lenz, SPRED began to take root. The initial SPRED volunteers worked closely with the SPRED Center of Chicago to replicate the same method and vision. Soon there were multiple sites offering SPRED groups with dedicated volunteers assisting the process. Eastside Child and Youth Ministry also had a hand in its growth and support. In 2013 the vision of more SPRED programs in the Milwaukee area was shared by Rev. Timothy Kitzke and a handful of dedicated volunteers who established the non-profit, SPRED Partners.
*Taken from Queen of Angels SPRED website, 2014. (wwwlqueenofangelsspred.org)
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