SPRED stands for Special Religious Development and is a small Catholic faith community formed within a parish that welcomes children or adults with developmental disabilities to form friendships with volunteers from the parish, who then journey with them in faith. SPRED helps participants know God and prepares them for full participation in the sacramental life of the parish. A SPRED group follows a form of symbolic catechesis which is designed for a distinct age group relevant to the age and life experiences of the SPRED participants. The age groups are typically 6-10, 11-16, 17-21 and 22+. A parish is part of a district-wide effort to assure inclusion in a SPRED program from childhood throughout adulthood by parishes working collaboratively.
The Archdiocese of Chicago designed the SPRED Model in 1967. SPRED is currently thriving in over 160 parishes in Chicago, and in four parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwakee. SPRED is nationally and internationally strong!