Office of Special Needs Ministry

New Respite Care Program Begins September 30, 2017

The Special Needs Ministry is pleased to announce that a monthly respite care program for families of children with disabilities will begin on Saturday, September 30, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Holy Cross Catholic School located at 8101 West 95th Street.  This program, which provides the gift of time to families who need a break from caregiving, is made possible through a grant from the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS).  The program is intended to serve children with disabilities between the ages of 6 and 18.  If you would like to register your child for attendance at the respite program on Saturday, September 30, click hereRegistrations must be received by Friday, September 15th.  Acceptance will be based on the availability of volunteers on a first come, first served basis.

 NOTE:   If you have a child outside of this age range but would like to be considered for attendance, please contact Tom Racunas, Lead Consultant for the Special Needs Ministry at 913.647.3054 or by email at  

 Volunteers, who will serve as respite buddies, are needed to make this program successful!!  There will be no program without volunteers!  If you are willing to be a respite buddy for the monthly respite event beginning  Saturday, September 30th, please complete the registration form hereVolunteer registration forms must be completed by Friday, September 8th, 2017.

All volunteers 18 years of age and older must have completed VIRTUS training and be properly screened before the respite care event on September 30th

Click here for Parent registration                           Click here for Volunteer registration


Want to get involved? Why not volunteer?

All ministry depends upon the generous hearts and commitment of the people that make up our faith communities. The impact volunteering can make on the community, as well as yourself, is tremendous. If you are interested in learning more, or are ready to get involved right now, please contact Tom Racunas to talk about the many ways you can be a part of this wonderful, and growing ministry.  Call 913.647.3054 or email


We are always working towards building a stronger Christian community, and that means making ways for those with disabilities to be more fully involved with the liturgy. 

"It is essential that all forms of the liturgy be completely accessible to people with disabilities, since these forms are the essence of the spiritual tie that binds the Christian community together...Realistic provision must be made for persons with disabilites to participate fully in the Eucharist and other liturgical celebrations."

Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities, 1978, par. 23



Mission: That all means all...

Because “The Church firmly believes that Christ, who died and was raised up for all,  can through His Spirit offer man the light and the strength to measure up to his supreme destiny.”  (Gaudium et Spes para. 10) the Office for Special Needs strives to empower and equip  parishes to encounter its members who have a disability so that they may be sanctified by the Church and in turn the Church may be sanctified by them.


  • All life is sacred and precious

  • All of us deserve to be treated with the fullest measure of dignity and respect

  • All of us have gifts that we are called to share with each other

Special Needs Ministry is building and growing, and we want your help in building a Church that is accessible to all!

The work of the ministry will be grounded in the vision of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops as expressed in the Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities [1978] and reaffirmed in Welcome and Justice [1998] See  Under the guidance of the Archbishop, the ministry will align its goals and objectives with the five year pastoral priorities of the (conversion, evangelization, all forms of Catholic education, outreach to those in need and stewardship) and the three key initiatives through 2017 (building a culture of evangelization, strengthening the vocation of marriage and family life, and cultivating relationships by engaging in corporal and spiritual works of mercy).

In general, the mission of the Special Needs Ministry is to help each parish insure the fullest participation possible for all parishioners in the life of the parish regardless of type, severity or age of onset of a disability.

The Special Needs Ministry works to provide the following:

  • Awareness information and/or workshops on types of disability and how a parish family can respond to needs

  • Assistance with the development and implementation of outreach and support systems for people with disabilities, their families and caregivers

  • Resources, curriculum and training for parents, catechists, and volunteers to provide sacramental preparation, on-going faith formation, participation in liturgies, and participation in the social life of the church

  • Practical information and education for persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers regarding available community services and supports

  • Accessibility assessments of the parish campus 

Who We Are

Tom Racunas, Special Needs Ministry Lead Consultant

You can reach Tom by calling 913.647.3054
or emailing


“The world does not become better because only apparently ‘perfect’ – not to mention fake – people live there but when human solidarity, mutual acceptance and respect increase. . . . Each of us, sooner or later, is called to face—at times painfully—frailty and illness, both our own and those of others.”  

Pope Francis, Mass for the Jubilee of the Sick and Persons with DisabilitiesJune 2016


"When we think of persons with disabilities in relation to ministries, we tend automatically to think of doing something for them.  We do not reflect that they can do something for us and with us. . . they have the same duty as all members of the community to do the Lord's work in the world, according to their God given talents and capacities."  

Pastoral Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities, no.17, NOD, 2001 


useful resources2



 Bulletin Board