Ministry with Persons with Disabilities
Pope Francis, in his message to persons with disabilities on the occasion of the International Day dedicated to them, wrote:
Baptism makes each one of us a fully-fledged member of the ecclesial community and gives each one, without exclusion or discrimination, the possibility of exclaiming, "I am Church!" The Church, indeed, is your home! We, all together, are Church because Jesus has chosen to be our friend.
Echoing these words, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life is launching the #IamChurch campaign: 5 videos in which persons with disabilities, from different parts of the world, recount their experience of faith and affirm, "I am Church!"
Starting on December 6, the videos will be available on the YouTube channels of Vatican News and the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and will be published weekly.
Each video aims to bring out the contribution that persons with disabilities offer to the ecclesial community on a daily basis. The work of evangelization carried out by some deaf young persons in Mexico, the monastery in France where some nuns with Down syndrome live out their vocation, the group of Italian youth with intellectual disabilities who participate in World Youth Days, are just a few examples of a broader reality that the campaign intends to start showing.
We assist parishes in opening their doors to welcome persons with disabilities, and their families, into the full life of the Church. Consultation and formation opportunities are available that promote lifelong faith formation, sacramental preparation and total parish access for every baptized Catholic. Strategies, best practices, and resources exist that support the inclusion of diverse learners.
"Every parish should seek out its parishioners with cognitive, emotional and physical disabilities, support them with love and concern, and ensure that they have ready access to a catechetical program suited to their needs and abilities." - National Directory for Catechesis, 61.