After a successful renovation in 2013, parishes in Cubero and Seboyeta, New Mexico, have once again partnered with a Chicago charity in order to accommodate disabled parishioners.

This year, Our Lady of Light parish in Cubero received an “Inclusion in Worship” grant from the Pathways Foundation to install a ramp for parishioners with wheelchairs. According to Joanne Meyer, the coordinator of the grant program, the applications are generally submitted by the youth of a parish.

“Luke Peterson, an eight-year-old parishioner at Our Lady of Light Catholic Church, submitted an application requesting a grant of $1,000 to make the church hall accessible with a new, gradually sloped cement entrance,” Meyer said in a press release. “’A long time ago someone tried to make a ramp to our Church Hall but it turned out like a hill to climb,’” said Luke. ‘It’s just like our church door was but now we have a ramp there because of our Open Hearts Award grant last year. It’s really easy to get into the church door with the new ramp. We’d like it to be like that for the Church Hall now too.'”

Previously the youth group at Our Lady of Light received funding from Pathways for a concrete parking lot and sidewalk entrance to the church, improved lighting, and pew cutouts to make room for wheelchairs.

Sr. Ellen Corcoran, the parish administrator for both Cubero and Seboyeta, helped the youth group with the grant submission. She first read about the grant program offered by pathways in an edition of Extension Magazine several years ago and has encouraged the young people of both churches to apply every year.

Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Seboyeta also received a grant for a ramp. According to Meyer, “Seven-year-old Haley and 12-year-old Isaac Molina, parishioners at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, applied for a Children’s Open Hearts Award grant to replace a narrow and too steep exterior ramp to their church. ‘We need a ramp so those who are in wheelchairs can come to our church. We want everybody to be able to get into our church so we can all be together,’ said Isaac in his application. Haley submitted a drawing of her church with a new ramp.”

Picture by 7-year-old Haley Molina showing Our Lady of Sorrows Church with a new ramp.

Picture by 7-year-old Haley Molina showing Our Lady of Sorrows Church with a new ramp.

Sr. Corcoran expressed her thanks and the thanks of the parishioners to the organization.

“We are so grateful for the support and insights we have received from Pathways. We are a more welcoming faith community because of you.”

For more information about the Pathways Foundation and the grants they offer to churches, visit www.InclusionInWorship.org

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