General and Introductory Materials
Part 5 Liturgical Law

Chapter 57 Access to the Sacrament for Handicapped Persons

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Theology

Mentally Handicapped

Physically Handicapped

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

 

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Bibliography

Access for the Mentally Handicapped

Peter Vere.  “Calling God's Special Children to Holiness: Sacramental Access for the Mentally and Cognitively Challenged,” Proceedings of the Sixty-Sixth Annual Convention of the Canon Law Society of America. CLSA 2005 pp. 195-206

 Peter Vere and Ian Burgess. “The Canonical Rights of God's Special Children,” in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, vol. CIII, n.7 (April 2003) 61-66.

Access for the Physically Handicapped

Edward Foley, Editor. Developmental Disabilities and Sacramental Access: New Paradigms for Sacramental Encounters. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1994. ISBN 0-8146-2280-1. Paper, $11.95.

 

Xavier Society for the Blind has offered to provide free pew cards in both Braille and large print (24 point) to assist those who are blind or visually impaired. The deadline for requests for the cards is August 31, 2011. Contact Kathleen Lynch at kathleen@xaviersocietyfortheblind.org  While the Xavier Society for the Blind provides all of its service free-of-charge, donations are gratefully accepted.

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Theology

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Access for the Mentally Handicapped

 

 

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Access for the Physically Handicapped

It is essential that all forms of the liturgy be completely accessible to persons with disabilities, since these forms are the essence of the spiritual tie that binds the Christian community together. To exclude members of the parish from these celebrations of the life of the Church is to deny the reality of that community. (Pastoral Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities, November 1978; revised 1989. The following check list is taken from the PAM Repeater published by the P-4M -Assistance Center, 601 West Maple Street, Lansing, MI, and is reprinted here with permission. It may be copied if desired. This copy taken from the FDLC newsletter pp 49-50, December 1995.)

Is Your Church Accessible?

Church Access Checklist.  Can someone who is physically limited get into your church building and participate in worship and other congregational activities? Below is a list of questions that win help identify the architectural barriers that are present in your building. The questions marked with asterisks (*) identify the access requirements that are of greatest importance in making your building essentially accessible.

Basic Accessibility. *Is it possible to get from a parked car to any area in the building without going up or down a step or steps? Parking Lots: *Are accessible spaces close to the building? Is there a minimum of two spaces always available? Are they identified as reserved for use by individuals with physical disabilities? Are the parking spaces at least 8 feet wide with an access aisle at least 5 feet wide? The access aisle can be between the parking spaces. Is the access aisle paved, even if the rest of the parking lot is not paved?

Walks. Do walks have nonslip, paved surfaces? Are walks at least 60 inches wide? *Is the slope of walks not greater than 5%? *Are walks of a continuing common surface, and not interrupted by steps? Whenever they cross other walks, driveways or parking lots, do walks blend to a common level? *Do walks have a level platform at the top which is: 6 x 5 feet if a door swings out onto the platform or toward the walls, or 3 x 5 feet if door doesn't swing onto the platform? *Does the platform extend at least 3 feet beyond latch-sides of the doorway?

Ramps. *Do ramps have a slope no greater than 1 foot rise in 12 feet and a width of no less than 60 inches on exterior? *Do ramps have handrails on both sides? Are handrails 34-38 inches above the surface of the ramp? Are handrail surfaces smooth? Do handrails extend 1 foot beyond the top and bottom of the ramp? Do ramps have a surface that is nonslip? Do ramps have at least 5 feet of straight clearance at the top and 72 inches at the bottom? Do ramps have level platforms at 30 foot intervals and whenever they turn for purposes of rest and safety?

Entrance/Exits. *Is at least one primary entrance to each building usable by individuals in wheelchairs? (It is preferable that all or most entrances (and exits) should be accessible to, and usable by, individuals in wheelchairs or persons who are otherwise disabled.)

Doors and Doorways. *Do doors have a clear opening of 32 inches or more? Are they operable by a single effort? Note: Double doors are not usable by those with disabilities unless they operate by single effort, or unless one of the two doors meets the 32 inch width. Are the doors operable with pressure (30 lbs. or less) which could reasonably be expected from disabled persons? *Is the floor on the inside and outside ‘of each doorway level for a distance of 5 feet from the door in the direction the door swings? *Are sharp inclines and abrupt changes in level avoided at doorsills? (½ inch for interior doors, ¼ inch for exterior doors.)

Stairs and Steps. Do steps avoid abrupt nosing? Do stairs have handrails both sides 34 to 36 inches high as measured from the tread at the face of the riser? Is there at least one handrail that extends beyond the top and bottom wall? Is the handrail at least 11/2 inches from the wall? Do steps have risers 7 inches or less? Are uneven or slippery surfaces avoided on the step treads? Are open stairs provided with a means of warning unsighted persons of their existence, such as slightly raised abrasive strips at the approach?

Floors. Do floors have a nonslip surface? *Are floors on each story at a common level or connected by a ramp? Where carpeting is used, is it a tight weave and low pile, preferably without padding?

Worship Space. *Can people participate fully in worship? Can people hear? Is there adequate amplification of sound? e.g., induction loop systems and miniature broadcasting systems which can be adapted to existing sound systems? Can people see? Is there adequate lighting to enable participation in worship? Locate light sources so there are no shadows on speakers or interpreters. Is space provided for wheelchairs (minimum of two spaces)? Do at least two or more spaces have extra leg room for handicapped persons with crutches, walkers, braces or casts? Can people receive the sacrament with others without climbing steps?

Rest Rooms. *Is there at least one accessible toilet room provided on each floor? *Do entrance vestibules, doors and vision screens allow sufficient clearance for wheelchair passage? Is the floor of the restroom of a nonslip surface and the same level as the corridor floor outside? *Do toilet rooms have turning space 5 feet by 5 feet to allow traffic of individuals in wheelchairs? *Is there at least one toilet stall that: is at least 36 inches wide (42 inches preferred)? has a 48 inches clear depth from door closing to front of commode to allow a wheelchair in the stall? has a door that is 36 inches wide and swings out? has grab bars on each side, which meet specifications, fastened securely to the wall at the ends and center? has commode with seat 19 inches from the floor? Do toilet rooms have sinks that are wall-mounted to provide 29 inch clearance from floor to bottom of the fixture? Do sinks have easy-operating faucets (not self-closing)? (Single lever type handles not requiring hand grip are preferred.) Are drain pipes and hot water pipes covered or insulated? Are some mirrors and shelves at a height as low as possible with the bottom no higher than 40 inches above the floor? Do toilet rooms have towel racks, towel dispensers, other dispensers and disposal units mounted no higher than 38 inches from the floor? Do toilet rooms for men have wall-mounted urinals with the opening of the basin 17 inches from the floor, or have floor-mounted urinals that are level with the main floor of the toilet room?

Controls. Are switches and controls for light, heat, ventilation, windows, draperies, fire alarms, and all similar controls of frequent or essential use, placed no higher than 48 inches from the floor?

Water Fountains. *Is there at least one water fountain usable by physically handicapped persons provided at an accessible location on each floor? Do water fountains or coolers have up-front spouts and controls? Are they hand-operated (without the need for grasping, pinching or twisting) or hand and foot operated? If coolers are wall-mounted, are they hand-operated, with the basin 34 inches from the floor? *If over 36 inches from floor is there a cup dispenser next to the unit? If there are floor-mounted fountains, are spouts no higher than 30 inches?

Identification. Are raised (or recessed) letters or numbers used to identify rooms or offices? Is identification placed on the wall on the handle side of the door? Are doors not intended for normal use, that might prove dangerous if a blind person were to exit or enter by them, made quickly identifiable to the touch by knurling the door handle or knob?

Warning Signals. Are audible warning signals accompanied by simultaneous visual signals for the benefit of those with hearing or sight disabilities'!

Hazards. Are door closers sufficiently out of the way to avoid injury and accidents? Are signs, ceiling lights, fixtures or similar objects protruding into regular corridors or traffic ways at least 7 feet above the floor? Is lighting on ramps adequate? Are exit signs easily identifiable to all disabled persons?

Public Telephones. *Is there easy access to a telephone? Is there an appropriate number of public telephones accessible to physically handicapped persons? (Standard telephone boots are not accessible.) Is height of dial (side approach) 54 inches or less from floor, 48 inches at the front? (Push-button dialing preferred.) Is coin slot located 54 inches or less from the floor? Are there telephones equipped with an amplifier for persons with hearing disabilities? are they identified as such?

Elevators. *If your church is multistory, does it have an elevator? Are elevators usable by the physically handicapped provided? Are elevators located close to an accessible building entry? Are all of the controls 54 inches or less from floor? Are the buttons labeled with raised (or indented) letters beside them? Is there a handrail provided on at least one side 32 inches from floor? *Is the cab at least 68 x 55 inches? *Does the door have a clear opening at least 36 inches wide? Is an emergency telephone located low enough for children and the handicapped (48 inches maximum height)? Is the elevator self-leveling ½ inch maximum), slow-closing with sensing devices?

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To Think About

 

 

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© Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 03/20/15 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at tomrichs@psci.net.