Myra Jacobs passing the baton as director of the Ministry With Persons With Disabilities

The Ministry for Persons with Disabilities is in transition. Jessica Lopez, left, is succeeding Myra Jacobs, at right, as the director of the ministry. Baylee Holmes is the ministry’s secretary. They are posing in front of the banner and equipment used for the Young Athletes Special Olympics, an early childhood play program for children with intellectual disabilities. The Wichita Saints is the ministry’s Young Athletes Team. The fall season for Young Athletes will be held from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. in the St. Joseph School gym, 132 S Millwood Ave., in Wichita. For more information visit or call 316-269-3900.

Myra Jacobs has experienced the fullness of the Body of Christ in her seven years of service in the Ministry With Persons With Disabilities.

“It truly, truly, truly, is one body in Christ,” she said last week during her last full week of service to the Diocese of Wichita. “Pulling all of those people together – folks with disabilities, volunteers, staff, parents, caregivers – all of those different sets of people coming together is exactly like the body of Christ.”

Before she became the director of the ministry, Jacobs worked in special education for the Haysville school district.

There is a spiritual component in special education in public schools but it’s low-key, Jacobs said.

A prayerful ministry

“This ministry is a very prayerful ministry. When it’s time for track and field or basketball or bowling practice or a retreat or whatever program or event, there’s always prayer and it’s really intentional. It’s spoken about freely and there’s freedom to talk about it.”

In the diocese the catechesis for those with disabilities has a high priority, she said.

“That’s sort of what drives everything – everything is centered around that. Rather than just kind of being under the table, it’s out and you have the freedom to really explore that. It’s the common thread that runs through absolutely, totally everything.”

Jacobs who passed the ministry’s director baton on Thursday, Aug. 31, to Jessica Lopez, says she will stay busy on her pecan farm in Oxford, about 40 miles south of Wichita.

After-retirement work

The farm’s logo has a windmill, she said, but the windmill broke about 10 years ago and has been stored in a barn. The recalcitrant windmill is one of many projects that await her and her husband, Rick. “We can pull that windmill out of the barn and get it up and then I won’t feel so bad about the logo. So yeah, I’m looking forward to being a full-time pecan farmer.”

Lopez, who has been shadowing Jacobs for over a month, said she is happy and eager to be a part of the ministry.

“I really like that I get to blend my passion for advocacy for individuals with special needs and my faith because I’m also coming from the public schools where you don’t really get to do that,” she said.

A convert to the faith

Lopez, who taught special education in the Wichita school district, said she is a Covid-era convert to the faith and is now getting an opportunity to develop her faith.

“I am looking forward to exploring where the ministry is going to go,” she said. “There’s so much to be done all the time – which is great, I like to stay busy. But learning this year how to grow with the ministry is going to be fun.”

A bold ministry

Lopez said she has learned a lot in the last month and has embraced Jacob’s recommendation to be brave and bold in the ministry.

“It’s wonderful,” she said, adding that it has given her confidence as she moves forward in the ministry.