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Mission/Value Statements

Provides consultation and deaf/hard of hearing awareness and information education.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry staff provide deaf/hard of hearing awareness and information education and serve as consultants for deaf/hard of hearing persons in parishes and schools. This office coordinates, implements, and evaluates services and programs for deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf/blind persons. Staff members recruit and train individuals to serve the religious needs of the deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf/blind people within the archdiocese.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry Office assists parishes to identify needs and plan to achieve accessibility goals.  Members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Office work closely with the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, the Deaf/Blind Center and the International Catholic Deaf Association.

Mission Statement

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee exists to enable all Catholic Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to participate fully in the liturgical, educational, pastoral, spiritual, and human concerns ministries in the Church. 

Value Statements

Effective Communication—engaging in the mutual understanding of thoughts and feelings within the whole community consisting of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and hearing people

Solidarity—a feeling of oneness or unity within the whole community

Sacraments—being active, conscious and full participants in the sacramental life of the Church

Inclusivity—being a vital part of the Church and reaching out to the whole community

Lifelong Education—engaging in a multitude of opportunities to continually learn about the Church, Sacraments, Scripture, social justice and all that makes us Catholic

Deaf Culture—understanding our customs and language, respecting our traditions in the Church, and valuing the ways we express ourselves as Deaf people

Reciprocity—being recognized for the gifts we have and acknowledging the gifts we see in others

Participating in the Faith Journey—fully participating in the pastoral life of the Church, knowing that we are pilgrims seeking the Lord as we travel life’s paths

Vision Statement

People who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing are welcomed and included in all aspects of the Church because of their baptismal commitment, the gifts they bring and share with others in every parish and Catholic institution in the Archdiocese, and their desire to continually grow in their Catholic faith. The community of believers who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and hearing are able to directly communicate in American Sign Language (ASL) reciprocally and with understanding. However, people can find ways to communicate indirectly with the provision of an interpreter and/or other methods. Archdiocesan offices, seminaries, colleges and universities provide leadership formation of teachers who sign or with qualified interpreters for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Priests, Deacons, Religious and Lay Ministers are given specified and appropriate training to minister with and to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities.  This includes the completion of any theology degree(s) and/or certification(s) in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry.  The inclusion of all people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing has enriched our Catholic Church and is a sign of unity for the entire community.  Opportunities are being provided for people across the nations, who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and hearing, in order to gather in solidarity to celebrate the Eucharist, serve others, and learn from each other.

Goals and Objectives

  1. Advocate for the rights of people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    1. Meet with Archbishop Listecki and key diocesan leaders to present the first draft of the pastoral plan for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing for their input and support
    2. Promote increased involvement of priests, deacons, religious and lay ministers to become bilingual in American Sign Language (ASL) and English
    3. Provide opportunities to worship and learn in an atmosphere, in which American Sign Language is the primary language, such as Deaf Mass
    4. Develop various methods of gathering census data about people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing related to their participation in parish life
    5. Work with Archdiocesan offices to ensure that they are recognizing the gifts and needs of people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, especially in terms of providing access so the people can fully participate in their programs and activities
    6. Advance the awareness and respect for Deaf and Deaf-Blind Cultures and people who are Hard of Hearing
    7. Work with colleges, universities, and organizations to ensure that the gifts of people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing are recognized and assured by the provision of full communication access.
  1. Provide leadership opportunities with people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing to participate and or lead in the areas of pastoral care, service, liturgy, and education
    1. Educate people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing about services and opportunities in the area of pastoral care, service, liturgy and education
    2. Increase awareness among all ministers in pastoral care about the gifts and needs of people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing such as chaplains, hospice workers, parish and hospital staff, funeral directors, and the homebound
    3. Provide religious education to mainstreamed children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, especially in the area of sacramental preparation, taking into consideration of whether a private class with a teacher who is Deaf, Hard of Hearing or any person with fluent signing skills would be appropriate
    4. Provide religious education to children from across the state who attend Wisconsin School for the Deaf (WSD) in Delavan, Wisconsin
    5. Ensure that training and opportunities are available for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing for full active participation as a lector, Eucharistic minister, catechist, etc.
    6. Work together for stewardship to raise money for Deaf and Hard of Hearing ministries, while recognizing the broader definition of Stewardship, such as volunteer service of time
    7. Educate the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to meet the various needs of multi-generations of the people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and their families
    8. Provide access to retreats and spiritual enrichment sessions for and with the communities who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, while recognizing the need of retreats and spiritual enrichment sessions in American Sign Language (ASL).
  1. Provide equal access for the diversity of communication needs of people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    1. Provide educational opportunities for Archdiocesan staff, parish leaders, and parishioners regarding the diversity of communication needs and services
    2. Provide information on the importance of worshiping in Deaf Mass and prayer services in which American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary language
    3. Provide the Archdiocesan and parish leaders opportunities in Mass, prayer services, and events in which interpreters, loop system, ALDs (Assistive Listening Devices), CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) and so forth are included
    4. Provide information on opportunities to earn American Sign Language (ASL)
    5. Increase awareness of the need to have funds available to meet the communication needs of people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind, and Hearing
    6. Ensure people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing the opportunity to express and share their gifts, culture, experiences and various levels of expertise
    7. Provide media with close captioning/subtitles.
  1. Recognize the giftedness and contributions of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing ministry
    1. Invite, recruit and encourage members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community to seek quality adult formation and to give back to the community from what they have learned
    2. Gather the names of all who have completed the Ministry Formation Program (MFP) and other theological degrees and help them discern where they may best serve by enlisting their support in creating an action plan for its implementation in collaboration with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry Advisory Council
    3. Recognize the giftedness by involving people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing in ministries such as visiting the sick, making communion calls, participating on Parish Councils and committees, and exercising other leadership roles, and so forth
    4. Include Lectors, Acolytes, Eucharistic Ministers, and other ministers who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing at Parochial and Archdiocesan services and events
    5. Start an Archdiocesan ASL (American Sign Language) choir.
  1.  Recognize and appreciate Deaf culture
    1. Educate people so that they know American Sign Language (ASL) is an official language just like English or Spanish
    2. Provide opportunities to educate the parishes, seminaries, Archdiocesan staff and general community about Deaf culture
    3. Encourage the community of the Deaf to share and include their gifts of cultural customs at Mass and prayer services
    4. Encourage ministers and the community of believers to take American Sign Language (ASL) courses to foster enhanced communication with the people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind
    5. Promote and accept greater sensitivity to the linguistic diversity of the community of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    6. Encourage parishes to celebrate Deaf Awareness Month in September and
  1. Provide religious education and Sacramental preparation opportunities using the diverse communication methods among the people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind and the broader Catholic Community
    1. Provide specialized training for catechists and ministers to work with people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind
    2. Be aware of diverse methods of communication to provide enrichment in religious education to the children who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind so they can fully participate in their classes
    3. Provide on-going formation for people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind so that they may continually grow in the challenges of living Christ-centered lives
    4. Provide training and on-going formation for interpreters to enable them to work effectively in Catholic settings such as Mass, retreats, and religious education
    5. Provide access for people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind to learn about ministry such as feeding the hungry, visiting prisoners, helping the homeless, comforting the sick, and so forth.
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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408