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Archdioceseof Chicaeo SPECL{LRELIGIOUS VG,NT

. h i c a g oI,i i i n o i s6 0 6 1 6
2 9 5 6S o u t hL o w e A v e C

November 2016 Volume9iNumber3

. 11 A room is definedby theway it is setup. When someonewalks into a homethey caneasily

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- i I identiff thekitchen,bathroom,or living roomby how it looks. Theroomsmaybelargeor small,
{$ ;\.. but they havethethingsthat areneededin thatroom. We identify theroom by what we seein it.

n Librariesaregreatplacesfor booksandquiet. Thereis appropriatelighting andeasilyidentified
categoriesof books. Therearetablesandchairsso onecanpersuebooksor seekinformation
for a project. I lovethebookstore,BarnesandNoble becauseof its setup. I noticepeopleof
all agesjust sittingwith a book on verycomfortablechairsor sofas.

Churchesarearrangedin certainways. Thereareplantsor flowers,an altar,alectern,pewsor

chairs,carpetingin someor all areas.We walk in andwe needno explanation.We become
awareof sacredspaceandwe may changeourtoneof voiceor ourbehavior.Beingin thatspase
we becomeawareof how we becomea corrmunity of faith andhow we worshipGod.

Thesameis trueofthe Spred,SpecialReligiousDevelopment,environment.Our environment

doesnot includedesks,blackboardsor books.A Spredenvironmentis wherewe noticebeaufi
simplicity and harmonyin the way the areasare setup and arranged.We notice carpeting,
woodencabilets,woodentablesandchairs,a handwashingareawith ceramicbowls,pitchers,
tou,els,soapandlotionthatatlracteveryone.Thereareliving plantsandflowersandobjectsto

The Spredenvironmentspeaksvolumes.We aredrawnto enterthisplace.Apreparedenviron-

mentis key to the Spredprocess.Catechistswork sohardto find theright roomsin theparish
settingandthenspendtime working on the space.A Spredcommunityof catechists taketime to
painttheir roomif necessarypu.rchase chairs,tables,lamps,andcabinetsto storeactivities.
Whenthe groupmeetsthe activitiesare displayed to beused.Thereareartmaterials,sensorial
materials,ffid objectsfor everydaylife activitiessuchaspolishing,wateringplantsandwashing
napkinsandglassdishes.The Spredcommr.rnity toeatsthe spacewith respectfor theyhaveput
somuch effort into creatingit andkeepingit cleanandbeautiful. Whenpeoplein a parishnotice
the Spredenvironmentandits beauty,th.y asktheSpredgroupifthey canmeetintheir space.It
is conducivefor goups suchasBible Study,RCIA andtheParishCouncil.Ifthis is possible,the
onething requiredis respectfor this sacredspace.

SPACE Spredcreatesthis sacredspacebecauseof what we do in it as a small faith community. We

welcomeourfriendswith developmental
processwe help themto know the Lord's presencein everydaylife. On altemate
a catechetical
weeks,we meetasa small faith communityof catechiststo grow in our owrrfaith throughthe
samecatechesis with ourfriendswill enterinto thefollowingweek
on our levelasthe catechesis
on their level. This processbased on theMethodViwe helpsusto evokea life experience and
relive a liturgical or sacramentaleventwe shared.We needa placethat is sacredsoasto be
readyto be calledinto commr.rrionwith the sacred,a placewherewe canrestwith Godafter
listening to the Word of God and a blessing/message. We needa place with soft lightirg,
/=--+ /^. comfortabletemperature,chairsthatput us at ease,objectsthatathactour attentionandappre-
ciation. We alwaysend our time togetherwith the sharingof simplefood anddrink abouta

!' When we meetwith ow friendswith intellectualanddevelopmentaldisabilitieswe become

awareat once of the needfor two rooms or oneroom with two areas,a meetingareaand a
celebrationarea.By not beingconfinedto onespace,we canbe flexible if a personneedsto
leaveone areawherethe groupis to regainsomecomposure.Two catechistsleavewith the
individual to providecomfort andsafety.

The activity catechistpreparesthe meetingareaandhelpseveryoneto be at easein this space.

He or shespendstime choosingandplacingageappropriate materialsinwell designated areas.
Theseattractivematerialsareobjectsneededfor thingssuchasworking with c1ay,painting,
flower decoration,aswell asworking with excercises touching,
creatingand cleaning.Eachone choosesawork soasto be preparedto go to the celebration
areawitha serenespirit, readyto participate.

l-he leadercatechistwelcomesall into the celebrationroomwherethe focusis theBook of

God'sWord siuroundedby flowersanda candle.Th.y seea chairfor eachonein a semi-circle
aroundthe Book of God'sWord. ln this spacewe grow in friendshipandfaith. We become
awareof the RisenLord, Jesus,who leadsusto the Father.

On thethird dayof the trainingcoursefor coreteams,caliedthe Lrtroductionto SpecialReli-

giousDevelopment,thereis time spentonhow to prepareanenvironmentfor a Spredcommu-
nity of faith. It is importantthat everyoneappreciatethatbuildinga goodenvironmentis neces-
saryto havea quality Spredcenter.

The Spredparishchairpersonis ultimatelyresponsible to obtainandmaintaintheSpredspacein

theparishsetting. The Spredparishchairpersonworks on behalfof ali peoplewith intellectual
anddevelopmentaldisabilitiesin theparishandrepresents themin the parishwhenthebudgets
aredrawnup sothatthe Spredneedsareincluded.Most Spredcommunitiesparticipatein the
annualKnights of ColumbusTootsieRoll or IntellectualDisabilityDrive held onthethirdweek-
endof September.This drive is a greatopporfunif for Spredcentersto work with the Knights
andthenlaterreceivea checkto helptheir Spredcenter.Aparish oftenworkswith theKnights
in otherways;but this drive is for programsfor our friendsandthe moniescannotbeusedfor
an1'thingelse.Themoniescanalsoberolledinto thenextyear'sSpredbudget.

ln any space,therearealwaysneeds.Thingswearout. Storeslike Bed,Bath,andBeyond

have amazingselections.If we needfurniturethereis IKEA, Art Van FurnitureandBob's
DiscountFumiture. However,the chairsand tablesfrom IKEAneed to be assembled!But
IKEA is alsoa greatplaceto find clothnapkils, silverware,glassplatesandcandles.
ThispastsummerI experienced my first EstateSale.Everl.thingin the homewasavailablefor
amazingprices.I havebeentogaragesalesandyardsales.At a garagesaleI found arocking
chairin mint conditionthatI purchasedfor our Spredspace.

WhenI accompanya newly formed Spredcommuniry I invite themembersto visit a few choice
Spredenvironmentsthat I haveseenthat aretruiy noteworthy.Theyshow a lot oftime spentto
createa weicomingand sacredenvironment.I haveproudlyshowednew Spredgroupsthe
Spredroomsat Our Lady of Fatima,St. Clareof Montefalco,St. Odilo and St. Denis. Just
walking into theseenvironmentsgives one a senseof the sacred.I rememberone Saturday
morningwhenmanyof the catechists from St.Denisweresopleasedto host a new Spredgroup
of catechists
whowantedto seetheir spacethattheyprovideda deliciouslunchfor all usingtheir

If a Spredcommunityis givena largeroom for Spredsuchastheparishhall, I would hopethat

theyobtainroom dividersto createfwo areasandblock out what is not needed.Pier I is a great
placeto find roomdividersor they canbe madeof woodenbackingandfabric, suchassheets.
Sometimesit is asnecessaryto takethings out ofthe environmentasit is to put thingsinto it.

ln orderto havepeacefuipreparationenvironmentsandjoful andprayerfulspacesfor prayer,

musicis required.The leadercatechistandthe activitycatechisthasto havefrrndsto purchase
equipmentandmusic. References for music arefoundin thesessionmaterialgivento leadersjust
afterLaborDay. They alsoneedfundsto placebeautifulmaterialsin the preparationareaand
beautifulobjectsin thecelebrationarea.Theseobjectsin a well preparedenvironmentconveya
spiritof communioil unity,simplicity,welcomeandrespectfrom themomentwe enterthesacred
spaceuntil we leave.

As aresourceto a parishthatis beginrringa Spredcommunity,I accompanythem duringmonttrly

informationaigatheringsto find famitiesand catechistsandto work on the environment.The
Spredcatechists becomeawareof light, sound,colorandhow to useall the elementsto createa
spacefor concentration, peaceandharmony.
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Everyoneneedsencouragement andtheyneedto understand why they areworking sohardon
the space.It is verydifficult to work with our friendsunlessthereis awell preparedenvironment. \ ' 4 . Ill,S\S*\


Eachfriend with a disabilityneedsto know whereeveri,thingcanbe touched,taken,usedancl

returned- everytime.Eachoneneedsto know that careis to be usedwith the environmentand r+{rJ.-/-_f
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everythingin it. Eachftiend helpsto carefor eachobjectusedsothatit is in goodshapefor the
nextperson.Eachfriend needsto helpput everythingin orderbeforeleavingthe environmentin
thehopesof finding everythingin placeuponretum.

As my final work with a new parishSpredcommunity,I leada catechistpreparationsessionin

their newlypreparedsacredspace.The new Spredcommunitycanhostan OpenHousewhen
their environmentis ready.This OpenHouseis notjust for their parishionersandparishstaffbut
canincludethe Kttightsof Columbuswho helpedwith theirfundraisingefforts.Arognd food and
drink theycanbemadefamiiiar with the Spredministry.Apreparedenvironmenttakeswork but
it is sorewardingwhenwe gatherto meetthe Lord of our lives.
6-10Mon'6 Pm Nov'14'28' Dec' l2
11-16TuesT pm Nov' 15' 29' Dec'13
+2-1 Introaluctionto SqreatETdj+4qip+!-
22+ Mon.Tpm Nov' 14,28,Dec'12
2i56 SoutlrLoweAve,ChicagoIl 60616,312-842'1039 ,
*HelPer CatechistTraining
SpredCenter2956 SoLowe Chicago'312-8421039
Nov.6. Dec.4, Feb.5, M*=ffir6 7- Sprerlcenter - Spanish- November5 1:00to 6:00


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Editor Si. VfaryTherese