Special Religious Development (SPRED)

Special Religious Development (SPRED) is a program specifically designed to meet the needs of persons with developmental challenges. For the past eighteen years, St. Barnabas has welcomed young adults, ages 17 to 21. We also helped place people in other age groups in SPRED programs in neighboring parishes like St. Cajetan, whose program welcomes adults ages 22 and older.

We are working with Patrick McGowan and Fr. James Donovan to find the needed adult volunteers and families who live with people with developmental, intellectual, and learning challenges no matter their age or level of abilities.  SPRED is a ministry built on relationships who meet in a beautiful space.  Each session ends with a beautifully set table with food and drink.  It is a different kind of catechesis developed specifically for our friends with these special needs.  It has been in our Archdiocese for over 55 years and is now worldwide.  Parents and interested men and women are invited to our SPRED Information


We are currently in need of a new team of SPRED ministers- we are looking for eight men and women who can continue the program at St. Barnabas. No experience with people with special needs is required. Training in the SPRED method of building friendships is provided. We are working to find interested adults who want to form friendships with others, grow in their faith, and try something different in their service to others. We also want to meet parish families of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, such as those who live with autism spectrum disorder, Down Sydrome, learning problems, and cerebral palsy with a developmental delay, no matter their age or level of ability who are in our parish.


The SPRED program is a faith development program for children, adolescents, young adults, and adults with developmental, intellectual, and learning challenges. St. Barnabas has been a longtime partner with SPRED, but to continue, we need your help. The SPRED program is a very relaxing and joyful ministry for those who volunteer. It is not so much a "teaching" program as it is a ministry of friendship. In SPRED, friendships are formed and faith grows in each of us. Please come and join us to learn more about this wonderful ministry. 


SPRED helps us grow in joy, kindness, goodness, gentleness, love, peace and patience as we learn how to be friends with one another in a small community of faith. To learn more about SPRED, please visit our website at http://www.spred-chicago.org. To learn more about the information night, please contact Patrick McGowan at 773.445.3450 or at [email protected].