What is SPRED?
SPRED (Special Religious Development) includes children or adults with special needs in small faith communities in their local parishes. It offers faith formation and gives parishioners an inviting place and opportunity to connect with persons with disabilities. It also enables persons with disabilities to be more included in the liturgy.
SPRED serves children and adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities such as Down's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, seizure disorders, and learning disabilities.
The Small Faith Community meets 12 times a year in what is referred to as a Total Community Session. At the Total Community Session, members call to mind life experiences and share them in a circle of friendship, becoming aware of God, the sacredness of all life, and their place in the family of God. Our SPRED friends learn that they are loved by God and are persons of honor and dignity.
An Evening with Our Friends...
The SPRED process, whether it is with children, adolescents, young adults or adults, is the same throughout the U.S. and world.
The first part of the evening is the Preparation Time. We work with materials such as clay, sand, paints, flowers, water, musical instruments, and photographs of nature. Through concentrated work with materials that are real, each person is led to an awareness of the bond that exists between self and others, creation and all of life.
At the end of preparation time, we finish our work and move into the Gathering Circle. This circle is the link between our activities and the Celebration portion of our evening.
In the Celebration Room, we hear God’s word and message. We hear the Word of the Lord and discuss the evening’s Symbol as it relates to our lives. The Leader Catechist then delivers the message of the evening to us, which makes the focus of the session meaningful in our present lives. Then we join hands, sing, and move to music of thanksgiving.
The next stage is our Agape, or feast. In fellowship with one another, we sit together sharing conversation and a variety of foods. Finally, we gather to sing our good-bye song or say a group prayer until our next time together.
Who is Served?
• Four Age Groups:
6-10; 11-16; 17-21; 21+
• One Age Group is encouraged per Parish
Local SPRED Groups:
• St. Mary's, Huntley - serving ages 11-16
• St. Thomas the Apostle, Crystal Lake - serving ages 17-21 & 22+
Small Faith Community
• Each SPRED group consists of 14 members comprised of:
6 Special Friends
5 Helper Catechists
1 Leader Catechist
1 Activity Catechist
1 Parish Chairperson/Helper Catechist
• The Small Faith Community meets 12 times a year
• Catechists meet for 12 additional Prep Sessions per year
Observe a SPRED Session
• September through May, RSVP's required
• St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Lake Zurich, IL
• SPRED Center, Lowe Ave, Chicago, IL
• Queen of Angels Parish, Western Ave, Chicago