Catholic deaf ministry seeks to rekindle spirits and boost presence

Summarized by Julia Lynn Rubin, staff writer

The Archdiocese of St. Louis oversees its own Catholic Deaf Ministry, seeking to educate and include deaf individuals in Catholicism through providing social activities and special Masses. This ASL interpreted Mass is offered every Sunday by Brother Adam Zawadski, who wants to provide social and spiritual opportunities to the Catholic deaf community they may not be able to receive elsewhere. The ministry works with the St. Louis Catholic Deaf Society to help develop and meet the needs of the local deaf community, which includes open annual board meetings and connecting with other states and nations for ideas and resources.

Being deaf and raised in a Catholic family may make some feel left out, as it did for Monica Niemira who received a deaf education but felt her experience at Mass was lacking. By participating in signed Masses in the St. Louis deaf community, Niemira has felt her “spirit rekindled” for the first time and a greater connection with her faith. Several other parishes in the archdiocese offer special Masses for the deaf, though some offer limited services as every community has a different number of deaf individuals, though the Ministry is working hard to reach out to the Catholic deaf community.

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