SPRED – Sr. Mary T. Harrington is a part of SPRED, Special Religious Development for the Archdiocese of Chicago. SPRED is a ministry that makes it possible for each parish to welcome those with developmental disabilities into a group to prepare them to participate in the liturgical life of their parish. Sr. Mary Therese helps establish, support, and coordinate SPRED groups in the Chicagoland area. For Sr. Mary Therese, what makes her work special are the people who are a part of these groups. She loves seeing the level of support participating families give to their loved ones. Sr. Mary Therese spoke about how impressed she was with the sacrifices these families make to help their developmentally delayed members keep their faith. And through these tough times she stays inspired, knowing that the work SPRED does is important. SPRED catechists use the bonds of friendship and deep personal relationships to lead others to a deeper understanding of the sacraments and to living themselves a life of love with God in Christ, all under the guidance of the Spirit. The process is completely personal and tailored to the needs of the individual. All services are bilingual and training courses are available for SPRED volunteers. The work that was started in Chicago has been a model to 13 other archdiocese in the US and 8 other countries. Not only do they follow the model that originated here, but they still use the SPRED team as a resource when needed. This has helped Sr. Mary Therese to remember that the work they do is important – not only to the families in Chicago, but to all participants worldwide. Sr. Mary Therese works to reach out to those who have family members with mental disabilities to educate them about SPRED and the resources it can offer.

Though the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the method of meetings and catechisms, SPRED groups continue to work with their members and plan for post-pandemic training. If you’d like more information, or to volunteer or donate, please visit the website:www.spred-chicago.org.