Media Release, November 26, 2012
The International Day of People with Disability is celebrated on 3 December each year, with this year’s theme of, “Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.”
Bishop Terence Brady, the Australian Bishops’ Delegate for Disability Issues, said that there is much evidence of the types of barriers that are faced by people with disability, and that Church communities can find ways to address these.
“Barriers can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or discrimination.”
The Church has taken this day as an opportunity to encourage a truly pastoral view that embraces our total community as the living Body of Christ. The day is observed annually and coincides with the beginning of Advent.
Bishop Brady said that empowerment of people with disability can allow them to truly live out their baptismal promises and tell the Good News.
“When our gifts and our weaknesses are acknowledged and freely shared, we empower each other to live out our Baptismal promises to evangelise, to love and to tell our Good News. It is in this evangelising and in the telling of our own story that we ‘become the story’ and truly strive to be ‘One Body in Christ’.”
Disability Projects Officer for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Patricia Mowbray, says that parish communities often do much to encourage inclusion and breaking down barriers.
“We all have a gift to share in service of the Body of Christ, and the Body is only “whole” when all of its members have a part to play. A Parish is not complete or whole unless it includes, nurtures, and rejoices in each of its members.” she said.
A newly developed resource page, which includes the full letter from Bishop Brady, is available at www.catholic.org.au by clicking the button “International Day of People with Disability” on the left-hand side of the front page. Resources include liturgy notes and tips for celebrating International Day, as well as three videos that can be used as prayer reflections.
For media enquiries or to arrange an interview with Patricia Mowbray, please contact Beth Doherty on 0407 081 256.