February 10, 2020

Groundbreaking Program Helps Deaf And Hard-Of-Hearing Catholics Grow Spiritually

Reverend Seán A. Loomis, Chaplain of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Deaf Apostolate, developed “Hands of Grace” in partnership with Ascension Press.

 Reverend Seán A. Loomis, Chaplain of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Deaf Apostolate, has partnered with Ascension Press to develop Hands of Grace: The Catholic Sacraments in American Sign Language. It is an innovative and ground-breaking faith formation program for the deaf and hard-of-hearing Catholics in the United States. 

The National Catholic Office for the Deaf estimates that there are approximately 5.4 million deaf and hard-of-hearing Catholics in the United States. These individuals are members of a distinct community replete with their own art, expression, customs, values, and historical traditions. Additionally, they are part of a linguistic minority who use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language. With English as their second language, many deaf and hard-of-hearing Catholics struggle to find faith formation resources geared to their needs.

The first production of Hands of Grace features video presentations of Father Loomis teaching in ASL, as well as a workbook that is specifically designed with a visual emphasis to provide a better, dynamic learning experience for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Through seven sessions, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the sacraments and the Catholic Faith.

 “For the Deaf, the word of God is communicated visually,” said Reverend Shawn Carey, President for the National Catholic Office for the Deaf and Chaplain to the Deaf in the Archdiocese of Boston. “There is a lack of evangelization resources available to them. ‘Hands of Grace’ is breaking barriers, and making evangelization for the Deaf happen. With this access, Deaf Catholics can learn to appreciate their faith more. Having faith in their lives ensures them that God is always on their side.”

Components of the program include the Hands of Grace DVD set, participants guide, and video glossary of Catholic signs. To learn more about this groundbreaking, faith formation program, please visit https://ascensionpress.com/collections/hands-of-grace-the-catholic-sacraments-in-american-sign-language


Editor’s Note: The Deaf Apostolate provides pastoral care, sacramental preparation, worship opportunities and religious education to Catholics who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. To learn more, please visit http://deafcatholicphilly.org/

Ascension Press is a full-fledged multimedia network and the world leader in the creation and distribution of Faith Formation programs. Over the past 20 years, the company has helped nurture the faith of over 1,000,000 souls in over 8,000 U.S. parishes through over 50 unique faith formation programs. To learn more about Ascension Press, please visit https://study.ascensionpress.com/pages/about_us.

Please note that the term “hearing impaired” is no longer accepted by the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community.

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Alaina N. Longo
Deputy Communications Officer
215-587-3747 (office)