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Special Needs Ministry


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Special Needs Video

Church teachings and values proclaim that every human life is a precious gift of a loving God, requiring respect and reverence for every person. CCSEM, parishes, and the Archdiocese of Detroit, collaborate in providing sacramental and ministerial assistance to welcome those with disabilities in full communion with the Church.

Award Winners
(From Left to Right) Elaine Leigh, Paul Bandli, Sandra Brown, Joyce Hyttinen (CCSEM), Archbishop Arturo Cepada, Marilyn Joseph, Fr. Steven Wertanen, and Richard Joseph.

Annually we have a Mass for Special Needs Ministry. The 2017 Mass took place at St. Anastasia Parish in Troy on October 1. The celebrant for the Mass was Bishop Arturo Cepada, with Fr. Steven Wertanen, Pastor of St. Anastasia, concelebrating. During the Mass, awards were presented for outstanding persons involved in Special Needs Ministry. The 2017 awards were presented to:

  • Elaine Leigh was recognized in Parish Program category.  A parishioner at St. Owen in Bloomfield Hills, she has been a catechist for the past 35 years. She continued to serve even after developing multiple sclerosis and being confined to a wheelchair.
  • Sandra Brown was recognized in the Caregiver and Advocate category. A parishioner at Our Lady of Loretto in Redford, she cares for her three sons, all with special needs.
  • Paul Bandli, on staff at St. Sebastian, Dearborn Heights, was recognized in the Religious Education category.  He is deaf, and is a catechist for two hearing impaired children. He also helps with the RCIA children’s catechumenate, and along with his wife Barb, heads up the vacation Bible School Kitchen.
  • Mary’s Children Family Center was recognized as the most Innovative Program for Those with Special Needs. The award was accepted by co-founder Marilyn Joseph. The center provides a structured program for adults with brain injuries.


St. John’s Deaf Center – Warren

Holy Innocents – St. Barnabas Parish – Roseville: Sunday ASL Mass at 11:30 am

Our Lady of Loretto Parish – Redford: Sunday ASL Mass at 9:30 am

ASL Sunday Mass homilies: By Rev. Michael Depcik, Chaplain, Archdiocese of Detroit Deaf Ministry

Book: Start with HELLO,  Introducing Your Church to Special Needs Ministry by Kate Brueck

Livestream the Mass for the Deaf via Facebook


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