Jaime Lugo signs to an off-screen audience. A large TV and auxillary equipment is on the wall behind him. One person in a gray shirt is sitting in front of him.

Catholic Charities Celebrates Deaf Awareness Week

Author: Mary Cottingham, South Texas Catholic
Published: October 1, 2019

Jaime Lugo signs to an off-screen audience. A large TV and auxillary equipment is on the wall behind him. One person in a gray shirt is sitting in front of him.Catholic Charities Ministry and Life Enrichment for Persons with Disabilities celebrated Deaf Awareness Week (Sept. 22-28) on Sunday with Mass and fellowship, and on Monday Catholic Charities hosted a Living and Learning Class directed by Jaime Lugo, a specialist from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center in Corpus Christi.
Lugo, who is also deaf, gave a talk in sign language and covered such topics as deaf statistics, basic signs, communication needs and cultural differences between the deaf and those who hear. ASL interpreter Angelica Tijerina provided the voice for the hearing in attendance.Lugo described being deaf as an invisible disability. “When you see someone in a wheelchair, their disability is obvious, but a lot of people don’t know about deafness itself. Some people think that because we’re deaf we all read Braille. If I was blind as well as deaf, I probably would.
“It is frustrating for those who may feel like they’re isolated or feel like there alone. You are not alone. You have the support we have the technology. We have hearing aids. We have a variety of different devices that can be adaptable for hearing people. And for deaf people. But nobody knows about that. So, there are many resources out there. That’s where we can help and accommodate what you need, whatever your needs might be to make sure you have a more successful life.
According to Lugo the deaf community has their own culture of communicating. There is Deaf Standard Time (DST), which means, “we can really drag out a conversation. It’s rare, once a month or so, that we will get the opportunity to chat with our friends. So, we cherish that time. We cherish that interaction with our family and with others who are deaf.
As a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Specialist, Lugo coordinates and focuses on advocacy and communication access to make sure that the deaf communities’ communication needs are met and inform them of their rights.
“Deaf Awareness Month and Deaf Awareness Week was created to let people know that we’re here and we need their support,” he said. “We want people to be aware of our accessibility needs, that we communicate, and we’re just like you.”

Celia Mendez, Director of Ministry and Life Enrichment for Persons with Disabilities Program, said that the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Office of Multicultural Ministry is helping to bring the Catholic faith to deaf people by providing an interpreter for some of the retreats.

Bishop Michael Mulvey also appointed Father Ramiro Regalado, Jr. as chaplain to the ministry in July. Father Regalado can celebrate Mass and hear confessions in sign. “Before Father RJ, we would have to have to get an interpreter. It was a big problem for the deaf and hard of hearing,” she said.

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Original link: https://southtexascatholic.com/news/catholic-charities-celebrates-deaf-awareness-week

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