A new grant has been created to assist parishes and Catholic schools in providing religious education instruction to adults and children with special needs.
Grant to assist parishes, schools with ministering to persons with special needs
The Romanello Holy Innocents Society Catechesis Grant has been established by the Holy Innocents Society, Diocese of Trenton catechesis committee to award six $250 grants to be used toward updating catechetical resources or the training of catechists and teachers. Four of the grants will be presented two parishes and the other two grants will be presented to schools.
“A parish may need assistance with adaptive materials geared for the individual,” Pat Hertz, chair of the catechesis committee, pointed out. “We can steer them to publishers who have adaptive material. We can share our experiences when working with families who want their child to be included and treated as a typical student. In addition, we can meet with the parish [director or coordination of religious education] and the family to offer suggestions.
“Our goal is to keep the student in their local parish providing supports as needed,” she said.
The Romanello Holy Innocents Society Catechesis Grant was named in memory of Angelo J. Romanello, who, along with his wife, Rose Anna, served Catholics with disabilities for many years. He was diocesan president of the Holy Innocents Society for 40 years and as director of the Holy Cross Learning Center, now referred to as the Mercer Chapter, for more than 30 years. Mr. Romanello, who was a member of Incarnation-St. James Parish, Ewing, died Dec. 5, 2021.
“They have contributed so much over the years and worked to establish its continuity,” Hertz said of the Romanellos.
“It is fitting that [the grant] should be named after him,” Hertz said.
To apply for a grant, parishes and schools must complete a form that may be found at dioceseoftrenton.org/holy-innocents-society. On the form, applicants must describe in detail on how the grant will be used. Applications may be sent to: Diocese of Trenton, 701 Lawrenceville Rd., P.O. Box 5147, Trenton, N.J. 08638-0147 Attn: Denise Contino, director of Catechesis. A PDF of the application may be emailed to [email protected]. All applications will be reviewed between July 15 and Sept. 1 and the recipients will be announced Oct. 1. All grant monies must be used by June 30, 2024, and a written report must be submitted to the Holy Innocents Society by June 30, 2024.
Hertz noted that there are six Holy Innocents Society Chapters throughout the four counties of the Diocese. In total, there are 50 volunteers and 100 students.
Hertz, a former HIS president and director of the chapter in southern Ocean County for around 30 years, said that through her many years’ experience as a volunteer with the Holy Innocents Society, she has found “the fruits of this ministry to be abundant.
“Not only do we provide religious formation, we also provide socialization to both the participants and their families,” she said.
Hertz noted that several youth who had volunteered with the HIS as teenagers pursued the special education field, and that many volunteers gave 10, 20, and 30+ years of service “because our students abound with unconditional love.
“This is more than a program,” Hertz said. “It’s a community where we share our love for Jesus.”
For information about the HIS, contact Brenda Rascher, diocesan executive director of Catholic Social Services, at 609-403-7139 or [email protected].