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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These standards have been set in place by the founders of SPRED who have been using this method successfully for more than 40 years. They serve as the base and support for SPRED groups, so that each individual group can be united with the larger SPRED community in reaching common goals. They ensure that SPRED continues to be what it is. To learn even more about SPRED, visit the parent SPRED Center in Chicago.
Faith sharing, religious services and sacramental preparation shall be available to all persons with special needs. By sponsoring a SPRED group, the parish or church makes religious services available. A parish or church indicates its sponsorship by appointing a chairperson. The work of the chairperson is to locate persons with disabilities in the parish, locate volunteer sponsors (catechists) to join the group, see to it that the volunteers receive SPRED training, and arrange for the use of appropriate space. Through a chairperson, SPRED services become available to the person with disabilities.
•Preparation for Catechesis
There shall be a preparation phase to each session with persons with developmental disabilities or learning problems. The person with disabilities is welcomed as a guest as soon as he or she arrives. The prepared environment fosters a sense of belonging, well-being and concentration. The activity catechist assumes responsibility for the overall preparation phase.
•Catechesis with Persons with Disabilities
There shall be a symbolic catechesis appropriate to the age, mentality, and faith development of the group. The leader catechist assumes responsibility for the catechesis given. A prepared environment and the attitude of the adults foster a sense of the sacred, prayerful awareness and an attitude of celebration in a community of faith.
The session shall be brought to a gradual closure through the sharing of food. Sharing of food in an atmosphere of the sacred has significance. A well-prepared table involving everyone’s contribution is a shared gift. Flowers, candles, attractive table coverings, quality tableware, dishes, etc. form the elements that convey respect, trust and affection. Music expresses and deepens the group’s happiness in becoming a community of faith. With the coordination of the activity catechist, all members participate in the preparation of the table, the sharing of the food, and the clean-up. The good-byes are to be respectful and personal.
•Catechist Preparation Session
Each session with persons with disabilities shall be preceded by a catechist preparation session. An adult community of believers gather together to renew its own appreciation in faith of the mystery to be celebrated in the session with the total community. United in their experience of faith, through a symbolic method, they form a warm, welcoming community. Catechist preparation sessions take place on a day or evening other than that for the session with persons with disabilities. The session closes with the sharing of food. Helper catechists (sponsors) make up the majority of the adult group. The helper is primarily a friend of a person with disabilities.
Liturgical experiences with specialized groups shall take place from time to time, but inclusion into assemblies of worship in the local parish or church is to be fostered.
There shall be coordination among centers in a given area. Chairpersons gather annually to share and plan for growth and expansion of the SPRED ministry. SPRED is based on a fully collaborative model. One parish welcomes six people with special needs of one age group only. A SPRED parish chairperson works to identify all persons with special needs in the parish and coordinates placement with other parishes.
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