Williams continued: "When you're a parent of a child or an adult with a learning disability, and you are on the phone constantly to doctors, fighting for them at school, the last thing you really need to do is to feel shut off from your faith."
The latest catechetical directory is the third since the Second Vatican Council. The first, the General Catechetical Directory, was published in 1971. The second, the General Directory for Catechesis, was issued in 1997. The latest version updates catechetical methods for the digital age and is likely to have a profound impact on the teaching of the Catholic faith around the world.
When Williams begins catechizing a child, she takes them into an empty church and helps them to appreciate all the sensory elements: the colors, sounds and smells. She may lead them to the altar and explain why it is much more than an ordinary table.
"It's not about long, convoluted words. It's about showing and supporting them in making their own discoveries," she said.
Williams urges parents of disabled children to raise the directory's new recommendations with their pastors. If their parish doesn't know where to begin, she advises them to contact Caritas St. Joseph or similar organizations where they live.
"We can come out and we can train people, and we can share our knowledge, expertise and resources. But once you are trained, don't be afraid to be the voice for those people who are left on the fringes of your parish," she said.
Williams noted that, while her work is deeply rewarding, it can be emotionally draining. At one point, she was visiting families after finishing her day job.
"Sometimes you would spend one minute with the child because he had had enough at school that day and just wasn't interested," she said. "But then you would spend half an hour with the mum, because she hadn't seen anyone all week or he had had a difficult day at school and she needed to talk to someone."
"At those times you think 'Well, I can't catechize today.' But actually you're supporting the whole family. And it's so important that even if it seems impossible, actually it isn't. Kindness, patience and time is the best gift."
There are also heart-lifting breakthroughs. Williams talks about discussing transubstantiation with a child who responded by making two sign-language gestures, one meaning "change" and the other signifying "creation."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
"So then you know that actually she's understanding that that's the Consecration, that the bread and the wine is changing and creating the Body and Blood. You get moments like that, that absolutely clarify what you are doing," she said.
Above all, Williams wants parents to know that, thanks to the latest directory, a new path is open to them.
"It doesn't matter where you are or who you are. God can always be present in your life," Williams said.
"Quite a lot of time we get the question 'Do they really know?' And yes, they really do. Sometimes you have to work with someone for four years, sometimes for a year. Sometimes you can support them straightaway on the Communion program."
"Just don't be afraid," she concluded. "It is possible for everyone."