THE INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC FOUNDATION FOR THE SERVICE OF DEAF PERSONS which, since NOVEMBER, 1986, has been registered in England as a private limited Company, and as a Registered Charity, is a group of voluntary workers who seek to provide catechetical material for deaf children and adults. The seeds of the Foundation were sown at an International Conference which was held in DUBLIN, IRELAND in 1971. This Conference was attended by approximately 200 delegates including bishops, priests, teachers of the deaf, psychologists, and social workers from such countries as AFRICA, AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND, GERMANY, IRELAND, THE NETHERLANDS, and THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The participants came together because of a felt need in the Catholic apostolate to deaf people - both children and adults.
The International Catholic Foundation for the Service of Deaf Persons seeks to make people aware of the difficult situation of the deaf person in the Church and to provide as many Publications and teaching aids as possible for all those involved in the religious education of the deaf. It also aids to set up training programmers with a view to reaching out to those who have no resources.
Among the many resolutions listed in the Report of the Dublin Conference held in 1971, we find the following:
An appeal should be made to the Catholic Conference of Bishops throughout the world for more attention to the deaf and their spiritual needs.
In each country one Bishop should have responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the deaf.
Irrespective of the general pastoral standards in a diocese the spiritual needs of the deaf must be seen as a continuing missionary need.
Because of the complex and all pervasive nature of the isolation caused by deafness, the Conference recommends that special consideration be given to the needs of the deaf in liturgical participation.
Since 1971, the Dublin Conference, International Conferences and Symposiums have been organized by the International Committee of the Foundation: 1980 Conference, Manchester, England; 1984 Symposium, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.; 1986 Conference, Louvain. Belgium; 1998 Symposium, Manchester, England; 1991 Conference, Rome, Italy; 1993 Symposium, Sint Michielsgestel; the Netherlands; 1994 Conference, Vallolaloid, Spain; 1997 Symposium, Cologne, Germany; 1998 Conference, Fort Laurderdale, USA; 2003 Conference, Mexico City.
The publications of the Proceedings include: Dublin, Ireland, 1971, Religious Education of the Deaf; Manchester, England, 1980, Towards a Living Eucharist; Newark, New Jersey, USA, 1984, Catechesis for the Hearing Impaired, Today and Tomorrow; Louvain, Belgium, 1986, Religious Education of the Deaf: a practical approach to Eucharist; Manchester, England, 1998, Eye People; Rome, Italy, 1991, Eye People Ministering & Seeing is Believing & Religious education in a Special School Setting; Vallolodid, Spain, 1994, Ministering where no bird sings & On Eagles Wings; and these have provided priests, teachers and parents with invaluable help in their efforts to bring the Good News to deaf people.