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Disabilities Ministry & Living the Gospel

Knowledge of God's word inspires service to the most vulnerable. 


 
Date Published: June 15, 2017

A graduate of Catholic Biblical School, Esther Garcia transitioned from her job of the past five years as Director of Faith Formation at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rowlett, Texas to follow God’s calling to serve in disabilities ministry. Since the beginning of June 2016, Garcia has been working for the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) as manager of programs and outreach.

“I am very excited to unite my love for catechesis and my passion for disability ministry,” Garcia said.

Rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person, the NCPD works collaboratively to ensure meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the church and society.

Based in Washington D.C., NCPD was founded in 1982 establish this necessary ministry in parishes and dioceses throughout the United States. The idea for the NCPD, however, came a few years earlier with the 1978 “Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities.” This statement, which was passed unanimously by the bishops of the country, asserts that Catholics with disabilities should be included “within the total fabric of society.” In other words, they must be able to participate fully in the celebration of the faith.

Garcia is excited to bring what she has learned in the Neuhoff School of Ministry to her new position.

“I will work with Catholic archdioceses, parishes and disability communities to support the meaningful participation of individuals with disabilities in the Catholic Church and society, enriching the faith through catechesis and cultural diversity,” Garcia said.

The audiences that Garcia will be working with are, as she describes, varied, thanks to the tremendous scope and reach of the NCPD. For example, two prominent councils and three board committees of NPCD which serve distinct populations include the Council on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities, the Mental Illness Council, and Board Committees on Mission, Education and Ethics & Public Policy.

The efforts of this partnership extend far and wide. Parish outreach offers sponsored retreats, online seminars and support to veterans and their families. Their pro-life efforts range from online training to consultation, and cover the lifespan, addressing issues such as abortion due to prenatal diagnosis, futile healthcare decisions and assisted suicide. They even provide services to support priests with reduced vision through their large-print sacramentary and lectionary project                                                            

Garcia brings her years of education from the Catholic Biblical School to this partnership, where she can use her knowledge of God’s word to minister to his people. Integrating her Biblical studies with Christian living, Garcia cultivated a career and a calling in the service of the church.

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Learn more about the Catholic Biblical School.

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