Masses in American Sign Language bring God's word to hearing impaired
Published: May 24, 2006
METUCHEN, N.J. (CNS) -- So that all may share equally in the beauty and mystery of the Mass, the Diocese of Metuchen offers opportunities for Catholics to worship in 10 spoken and one entirely silent but expressive language, American Sign Language. Approximately 5.7 million deaf and hearing-impaired Catholics live in the United States, according to the Web site of the National Catholic Office for the Deaf at www.ncod.org. In Metuchen, the Catholic Deaf Ministry offers Masses with sign-language interpreters at three locations on a regular basis and at additional special liturgies. Tevis Thompson, program coordinator, explained the differences in spoken versus signed Masses. "ASL is a conceptual language. English idioms such as 'it's raining cats and dogs' don't translate," she said. Homily interpretation can vary, but the liturgy itself is identical to that for the hearing. "The readings and prayers at a deaf Mass are exactly the same; there is no extra narration," she said.
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