Catholic Deaf Service
The Parish of St Philip Evans is the ‘designated parish’ serving Deaf people throughout the Archdiocese of Cardiff. The 10.30 a.m. Sunday morning Mass is always supported by Sign Language, and other major services and social occasions are also signed. Deaf people from anywhere in the Archdiocese are welcome at this Mass, and Hearing persons who wish to learn or use Sign Language are also welcome to get involved. The Parish Priest, Revd Gareth Leyshon, has been learning to sign since his arrival in September 2013, and is now able to sign the Mass prayers, but is still working on becoming fluent for preaching and conversations!
St Philip Evans is also home to the Archdiocese of Cardiff Catholic Deaf Service, which recognises that Deaf people are a community within the family and life of the Catholic Church in Wales. We have skills and responsibility to fully take part in the worship and work of the Church. We will share, encourage and support each other in achieving these goals to build up the kingdom of God. The Deaf Service owns the Small Hall and attached Office on the St Philip Evans site. Previously an independent charity, the Deaf Service is now an integral part of the Archdiocese of Cardiff Trust with its own designated assets. In addition to supporting the Signed Mass at St Philip Evans, the Deaf Service supports various activities for Deaf People and sign-language learners in the Small Hall, and provides sign-language support wherever it is needed in the activities of the Archdiocese of Cardiff.
At the Sunday 10.30 a.m. Mass and at other major occasions, deaf and hearing parishioners together form a worshipping community, fully participating in the Worship, Liturgy, Prayer and Sacramental Life of the Church as a family and as individuals. The work of the Deaf Service makes possible full and active involvement in acts of worship central to the Church, our communities, family life and the individual – the Mass, other Sacraments, and personal spiritual development, assisting on request with personal and family prayer, and with retreats.
Gaynor Mullins serves as director of the Deaf Service on a part-time voluntary basis, while also employed four days a week by Sense as a community support worker for Deaf and Deaf/Blind people. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07429 579869. The previous director, Mary Chisholm, stepped down for reasons of health in 2015 but remains involved, formally appointed by Archbishop George Stack as Advisor to the Deaf Service.
The Deaf Service’s Mission is to recognise and promote the gifts and potential of each unique individual, supporting our spiritual and emotional development in relation to self, Christ and others. This is achieved through offering Education and Training (e.g. Liturgical Sign Language Training; Conferences; signed preparation for the Sacraments); and personal and pastoral support (counselling, hospital visiting, home visiting, interpreting, social gatherings for all faiths).
The Deaf Service promotes links with the Catholic Deaf Association (Local, National and International), furthers Deaf Awareness within the Church, and is present at various celebrations within the Archdiocese.