MP730ME JDI Summer Seminar Workshop

The Summer Seminar 2023 (MP730ME)

The Church has devoted much energy aimed at embracing the fullness of the Body of Christ and building community. This year’s Summer Seminar will explore a unique aspect of communio among the faithful: that of people with special needs and gifts.

During this seminar, students will read various theological approaches to the problem of disability, the spirituality of making sense of living with disability while engaging with the pastoral possibilities that emerge from the Church’s ministry toward people with disabilities.

A day of presentations and moderated discussions kicks off the seminar - Building The Church: Incorporating Special Needs and Gifts into the Body of Christ - on June 10.

The keynote speaker will be Fr. Matthew Schneider LC SThD, a priest with the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. He has just completed his doctoral thesis in Moral Theology through Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He teaches theology at Belmont Abbey College, is an accomplished speaker and prolific writer including this book, God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us, published by Pauline Press. He is one of the few openly autistic priests and we are thrilled to have him as the keynote speaker for this year's seminar. Check out his blog:

During this one-day immersion, students will explore the topic of incorporating the disabled into our Church. The topic will be introduced with presentations from two speakers deeply experienced on the topic. Students will then have the opportunity for discussion with our guest panelists and detailed conversation about the articles and books in the bibliography.

Format: All conferences will be presented via Zoom video conference. The Zoom links may be accessed in the JDI’s online learning management platform under the “MP730ME – JDI Summer Seminar Workshop” section. Students are expected to attend all sessions.

Again this year, we are able to offer a one-credit registration (MP630ME) for those students who would like to join the seminar without the expectation of presenting research or taking an active part in live discussion.

Agenda: Saturday, 6/10

Time (EDT) Topic
9:45-10:00AM Morning Prayer (optional) (Liturgy of the Hours)
10:00-10:15AM Welcome and Opening Discussion
10:15-11:00AM Keynote Presentation - Fr. Matthew Schneider,LC
“Four Stages of Welcoming the Disabled in the Church”
11:00-11:15AM Break
11:15AM-12:00PM Presentation - Dcn. Steve Petrill - "Incorporating Adults with Special Needs into Parish Life:  The Role of the Deacon
12:00-1:00PM Break (Lunch)
1:00-2:00PM Moderated Discussion on Themes from the Keynote and Round-Table Discussion

Dr. Peter Brown: Academic Dean of the JDI, Moderator, Dr. Matthew Schneider, Dcn. Steve Petrill Identify primary themes from morning’s presentations.

2:00-2:15PM Break
2:15-3:15PM Moderated Discussion: Assigned Readings, Church Teaching, and Other Documents

Dr. Peter Brown: Academic Dean of the JDI, Moderator

3:15-3:30PM Break
3:30-3:45PM Next Steps: Review deliverables for the rest of the trimester
3:45-4:00PM Dismissal




  • Timothy J. Basselin: Flannery O'Connor: Writing a Theology of Disabled Humanity (Studies In Religion, Theology, and Disability) ISBN-13 978-1602587656
  • Brian Brock and John Swinton, Disability in the Christian Tradition: A Reader. ISBN-13978-0802866028
  • ***Fr. Matthew P. Schneider: God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us ISBN-10: 081983162X***

Church Documents: