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Catholic Deaf Awareness Week

posted on 12 May 2008

The priest stands at on the altar celebrating the Mass.  The actions are familiar but what were the readings about today?  What did the priest say during his homily? Before Mass there was an announcement, what was that about?  For those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing these are questions that arise every week at Mass.

In the UK one in seven people experience some form of hearing loss from mild loss to profound deafness.  May 11th -­ 18th 2008 is Catholic Deaf Awareness week organised by the Catholic Deaf Association to promote the importance of faith, inclusion and access to the sacraments for those who are Deaf, Deafblind or Hard of Hearing.

Small things can make a huge difference to make people feel included.  When greeting those who rely on lip reading make sure there is a good light and that you look directly at the person.  Speak naturally, but clearly and slowly.  Dont shout, it does not help, and can give the impression, erroneously, that you are angry. Be prepared to repeat things and if necessary to re-word what you are saying.  Certain words are more difficult to lip-read than others.   Try learning to fingerspell words using the British Sign Language alphabet and the Deafblind alphabet.  Provide a written copy of the announcements so that Deaf and Hard of Hearing members of your congregations know what is happening at their local church.  If possible provide a written copy of the homily. 

We are all pilgrim people but for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community this can so much more be the case trying to find a church to belong to where they can understand what is happening and feel fully included; an environment where they can use their skills and talents.

For more information on the services provided by Westminster Diocese Deaf Service and details on events happening in Westminster for CDA Deaf Awareness week please contact us at wdds.deafservice@yahoo.co.uk

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posted on 12 May 2008

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