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Communication is central to all that we do.  We take our ability to communicate for granted and in doing so hardly ever give a thought to how difficult life can be for those who are unable to speak with others, to make a telephone call or listen to music or partake in the responses in praying at Mass.

The Covid lockdown, together with the retirement of Sr Clare Smith and Fr Donald Stoker, has meant that we have had to re-examine all aspects of how we, as a Diocesan Community support pastorally and spiritually our Community of profoundly deaf and hard of hearing people.

  We have a substantial Deaf Community spread across the Diocese and we are working to be able to provide regular signed Sunday Masses.  This requires planning, preparation and implementation.  It will require patience and our learning new ways to communicate so as to include and understand each other.

  We recognise that our priests are already fully committed, with many having to care for more than one parish.  To expect additional input from our priests, of the kind necessary to build and sustain deaf communities is, we believe, unrealistic in our circumstances.

How do we go forward?

  The plan is to have a signed Sunday Mass for the deaf community in each Deanery each Sunday.  The implementation of the plan requires the active involvement and support of all of us – the laity.  We need a cohort of volunteers to ‘sign’ Sunday Mass for our Deaf Community.  We are seeking the HELP of people in every parish, initially to learn to ‘sign’ so as to be able to speak with and understand those that are deaf.  Training is available.

During Covid there is signed Mass each Sunday a at 11.30am at www.stpatrickslevesey.com.  There is also excellent material for Lent and Holy week at www.ccatholicdeaf.org.uk/services/online/mass.

How to get involved

If you have skills in the use of social media and would wish to help we would also be delighted to hear from you.  If you have a family member or a neighbour who is deaf do let us know.

For further information or to help please contact:  stym@hallam-diocese.com.