In order to determine the needs and desires of the autism community in the Catholic Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee, a survey was developed and the data parsed via a modified action research method of qualitative analysis with the purpose of determining how the autism community can best be included in the preaching and catechesis of the diocese as both servants and consumers of the services available from the parishes within the diocese.
The survey was offered online with a paper option and was made available to both current and former members of the Catholic faith tradition. The survey was announced via publication in the diocesan newspaper and in parish bulletins with further dissemination by word of mouth among the autism community. A total of thirty-four responses were received and analyzed using best practices for research involving those with intellectual disabilities and those who care for them, including parents. There were thirty-nine questions in the survey, including questions that established the eligibility and applicability of the respondents.
Utilizing the results of the survey, a draft “Guide for Ministers of the Word” was prepared and presented to a mixed group of clergy and lay catechist-preachers who provided feedback to the researcher in the form of suggestions and observations. This was followed up with a second draft of the guide which incorporated those items which were both feasible and appropriate for Catholic parishes. This version of the guide was presented to the annual gathering of deacons and wives/widows in the diocese. This latter group provided additional comments and suggestions which the researcher then incorporated into the final product.
This ultimate product will provide clergy and lay catechist-preachers in the diocese – and likely beyond – a framework for fuller inclusion of the autism community into the life of the Church as full members of the Body of Christ.
|Advisor:||Werner, Honora, Carter, Erik W.|
|Commitee:||Beaton, Rhodora, Mousseau, Juliet, Pazdan, Mary Margaret, Werner, Honora|
|School:||Aquinas Institute of Theology|
|School Location:||United States -- Missouri|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Autism, Catechesis, Catholic, Liturgy, Preaching|
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