The Catholic Church in South West Queensland LIVE STREAM MASS

Ministry in Action: SPRED Appeal 2024

Ministry in Action: SPRED Appeal 2024

Story by: Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba

For over 35 years, SPRED (SPecial REligious Development) has been a beacon of hope and a source of spiritual growth for countless individuals. SPRED is a ministry of inclusiveness and evangelisation which meets people where they are. Staff, volunteers and SPRED Friends journey together in faith, love and respect.

It is this time of year that the Toowoomba Diocese reaches out to parishioners to ask for financial support for the ministry of SPRED. In this cost-of-living crisis, purse strings are tight. Any and all gifts, no matter how big or small, are received with gratitude.

Please keep the SPRED Friends, Staff and Volunteers in your prayers.

Your Generous Contribution Means a Lot

Click the DONATE TODAY ONLINE button or scan the QR Code to make a donation securely online now.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible, and a receipt will be issued immediately. You can also make a last-minute donation before the end of the financial year.


Embracing Prayer at a SPRED Session: Calling, Responding, Listening

Edited extract from a reflection by SPRED Catechist Larry Adams

The SPRED group gathers and shares greetings. Some people are tired; some may be anxious; some preoccupied; and some bored, while others seem to light up the room! After a few minutes though, each person is busy, focused, quiet… for the most part. Beautiful music plays softly in the background. Some quiet talking happens. Members of the group explore talents and gifts they may never have known they had – painting, sketching, working with wool or beautifully coloured paper. This is prayer.

God is present in each person and in the simple, natural materials with which we work. Our attention and presence, while not explicitly directed to God, bring a holiness and potential for transformation during our time together. God as mystery is with us. Our task is to let this transformation happen, gently calling individuals back when they stray, usually with a smile or kind word.

Each person is called in a whisper to move to the sacred room…. a brief prayer of calling and responding. Once in our sacred room, before us is the Book of God’s Word, a candle, and beautiful flowers… the lighted candle signifying that God is with us, and that we are in a holy place. Our friends with intellectual disabilities instinctively know there is a difference in this sacred place. They feel safe, they see the volunteer catechists modelling the behaviour of reverence. The stage is set for prayer.

While a SPRED session is never perfect and rarely happens exactly as we envision, if we think of the entire session as prayer, the work of the session lasts well beyond our time together. Our relationship with God is furthered and our image of God expanded. We come to appreciate how God’s work is active in our lives and in our world. For both volunteer catechists, and our friends living with intellectual disability, participation in SPRED leads us to a deeper and more profound life of prayer.