As members of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati prepare to participate in the 33-day Marian Pilgrimage, the archdiocesan Office for Persons with Disabilities, in connection with the Center for the New Evangelization, are ensuring all who want to participate in the pilgrimage may do so.
“It is incredibly important for the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Center for the New Evangelization to collaborate to provide necessary accommodations during the Marian Pilgrimage to ensure that persons with disabilities and their families have full access to the faith,” said Noelle Collis-DeVito, Associate Director of the archdiocesan Office for Persons with Disabilities. “This pilgrimage is meant to be a way for our entire archdiocese to collectively come together in prayer, and when we do not provide the necessary accommodations for people with disabilities we are not a whole Church.”
During all large pilgrimage events – including the Mass and concert at the Maria Stein Shrine, Mass with Archbishop Schnurr and concert at Roger Glass Stadium in Dayton, and the concert at Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati – will all include American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, according to Collis-DeVito. Sensory-friendly tents will also be available at these large events.
Additionally, the archdiocese is planning to utilize select routes of the 33-day pilgrimage that are accessible to those with mobility issues.
“These accessible portions of the pilgrimage will be located on flat, paved paths that will avoid major intersections and should be easier to navigate,” said Collis-DeVito. “We [also] plan to have three adaptive prayer opportunities along the pilgrimage route for persons with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities. These will take place in the northern, Dayton and Cincinnati regions.”
Those who are homebound are also encouraged to participate in the pilgrimage virtually.
Collis-DeVito shared that there is a resource page for those looking for all the accommodations provided by the Office for Persons with Disabilities and the Center for the New Evangelization. That information can be found on the pilgrimage website, www. mary2021.org
“Our hope is to create a culture of inclusion and meaningful participation for persons with disabilities and their families here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati,” said Collis-DeVito. “We want to provide an opportunity for persons with disabilities to truly participate in this pilgrimage and for this event to be an example of what can be done at a parish level to create a sense of belonging for all.”
Those with questions or requesting information about accommodations during the pilgrimage are encouraged to contact the Office for Persons with Disabilities.
“If you are a parish, don’t be afraid to call or reach out even with a little question,’’ said Collis-DeVito. “We are happy to help and would love to be a resource to create a culture of inclusion and meaningful participation here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.”