by Moira Cullings
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Ninety-nine percent of deaf people are not affiliated with any church, according to Katie Locus, consultant of deaf ministry for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
“One of the reasons for that statistic is lack of access, and this includes lack of access to Catholic resources,” she said.
One resource lacking for the deaf community is Catholic podcasts, which today are a popular form of receiving information for the hearing community.
To combat this problem, Catholic News Agency made its first podcast episode accessible in American Sign Language (ASL).
The episode, titled “More Than Words,” was published to YouTube on Oct. 26 and includes the input of Locus, who shared part of her faith journey as a deaf person.
“I’m very honored that they thought to ask me to be a part of this,” said Locus.
She said the lack of access to proper faith formation starts at home, as many hearing parents who have deaf children don’t learn to communicate with them beyond basic signs.
Sacramental preparation classes aren’t much better and often don’t provide interpreters, she said, and online resources available for the deaf Catholic community are scarce.
Locus hopes more podcasts and resources will be provided to the deaf Catholic community in the future and that her part in the “More Than Words” podcast will have a positive impact.
“I had a thought that perhaps, by sharing my story,” she said, “it might help other families who have deaf children to see the benefits of making their Catholic faith accessible to their children by learning how to communicate with them.
“Who knows what the fruits would be when parents are able to teach their deaf children about what we believe as Catholics?”
To view the “More Than Words” ASL podcast, click here.