Practicing Catechesis in Disability Ministry
Date published: February 28, 2017
A graduate of the Catholic Biblical School, Esther Garcia transitioned from her job as director of faith formation at Sacred
Heart Catholic Church in Rowlett, Texas to follow her call to 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,”
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 Institute for Ministry
& Evangelization 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
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 will be bringing 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 had cultivated
a career and a calling in the service of the church.
Learn more about the Catholic Biblical School today.