Adaptive Catechesis

A Religious Education Initiative for Children with Special Needs 

by Margaret Bruenig Clark, Director of Religious Education, Margaret.Clark@stmariagoretti.org | 608-271-3732

God has a specific purpose for each of us, and God desires for us to be a part of a larger body of people.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:45).

For these reasons, SMG is excited to launch a new initiative that is part of our commitment to meeting the needs of people with disabilities.

From October through April, SMG will offer sessions on Sunday mornings from 10:15 to 10:50 a.m. for children who have special needs, such as but not limited to autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, physical limitations, cognitive concerns, has an  Individualized Education Program (IEP) at school, and/or who may struggle with Monday evening Religious Education classes.

Sessions will take place in designated rooms in the SMG School building. Parents/caregivers will complete a Religious Education IEP and meet with staff and volunteers to share their child’s specific needs and wants as well as their own hopes and wishes for their child’s faith journey.

Volunteer Faith Mentors will teach lessons one-to-one with a child based on his/her individual learning style. The intent is to  prepare the children to enter and participate in the Sacraments as fully as they are capable. At least one parent is required to be present with their child to both observe their child’s progress in the sessions and to dialogue with other parents. Sessions will end
at 10:50 a.m. so family members have time to participate in the 11 a.m. Mass.

How can you be involved?

  1. Pray – for the success of this new initiative, for the Faith Mentors, and for the families participating in the program.
  2. Register – for the sessions if this may be a good fit for your family.
  3. Volunteer – for teens and adults to become Faith Mentors, who have a desire for this ministry, who are available on Sunday mornings, and who want to grow in their faith and relationships with others. 
  4. Spread the Word – if you have a relative/ friend/neighbor/co-worker who may benefit from this program!


For more information, please contact margaret.clark@stmariagoretti.org or 271-3732.


The National Directory for Catechesis says that “The Church owes person[s] with disabilities her best efforts in order to ensure that they are able to hear the Gospel of Christ, receive the Sacraments, and grow in their faith in the fullest and richest manner possible” (no. 49)