SPRED (SPecial Religious EDucation) is a program of religious development specifically designed to meet the spiritual needs of persons of all ages with developmental disabilities and intellectual challenges. Through their participation in the SPRED Community of faith, our Special Friends are incorporated into the liturgical and sacramental life of the parish of St. Matthew. SPRED serves persons with special needs age six through adulthood.

It is our hope to resume our SPRED program in early 2022.  Families who would like a loved one participate, please reach out to Carol Herrmann or Jan Clemens to let us know your interest!  In addition, we will need volunteers to help us begin this joyful ministry again!  A training will be held at St. Matthew for those interested in serving as catechists.  Please reach out to Carol Herrmann to let her know you would be willing to help as a catechist or catechist helper (see information below).
For more information about SPRED, visit SPRED CHICAGO which is the official website of the SPRED headquarters.


SPRED Training at St. Matthew

Despite the obstacles posed by COVID, we hold firm to the fact that we must continue our mission of assuring that those in our parishes who are often overlooked —-those with developmental/intellectual challenges—– become an integral part of our faith community through the Special Religious Development Program. Your dedication to our SPRED participants and the hope you bring to our SPRED families will be greatly rewarded by God.

Whether you are  discerning whether to become a Catechist, a brand new Catechist , or have been part of the SPRED community for years, this training is for you. Normally, the training takes place on five Saturdays at the International SPRED Center in Chicago. Catechists who are able to travel there are trained for 5 Saturdays. We are blessed to have the Executive Director of SPRED and members of his staff come to St. Matthew Catholic Church to give all SPRED Catechists in the area this training in two days :

February 4 (half day) from 1 to 6 pm

February 5 (full day) from 10 am to 5 pm

February 6 (half day)  from 10 am to 2 pm

The training will give you insight into the depth and richness of this program and an understanding of your role in building a strong faith community. You will be a blessing to our SPRED participants and they will be a blessing to you!

For more information on the training, contact Jan Clemens at 704-877-4390.  To register, please email Carol or Jan by Feb. 1.

Volunteer Opportunities

All volunteers for SPRED serve as models in establishing a faith community, where all love and serve God and seek to know His Love for us.

Catechists: serve to facilitate the lesson and general flow of the session for a small group of special friends accompanied by catechist helpers.

Catechist Helpers: while they do not teach as such, they serve as mentors and guides for a specific special friend during the SPRED session.  The Catechist Helper accompanies his or her Special Friend in preparation to receive the sacraments.

Time Commitment

The SPRED Program generally runs from September to May; sessions with our special friends are two hours long (from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon) every other Sunday during that time. Catechist preparation meetings are approximately one and a half hours long the week before each full session. During these meetings, the catechists develop their own strong faith community and prepare for the full sessions.