The Bishop Delegate for Disability Issues has used his message for the International Day of People with Disability to call on Catholic communities across Australia to invite people with disability to take up leadership positions.
The theme for the 2019 celebration, held on December 3, is “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership”.
Bishop Don Sproxton, in a letter to the Catholic faithful, said it is critical to ensure “the full and equal participation of persons with disability in all spheres of society and includes active participation in our Church and parish communities to create enabling environments by, for and with persons with disability”.
“This includes ensuring an environment that promotes leadership opportunities for people with disability,” he said.
Bishop Sproxton said progress has been made within the Church, as within the wider community. He offered one tangible and imminent example in his own archdiocese.
“The Australian Catholic Youth Festival to be held in Perth will be showcasing a workshop and prayer experience facilitated by young people with disability – an opportunity for young people with disability to showcase their leadership skills among their peers,” he explained, while acknowledging that “more needs to be done”.
Bishop Sproxton said offering leadership courses for people with disability to facilitate the next stage of the Plenary Council discussions in a local parish or diocese was a practical response to this year’s theme for the International Day of People with Disability.
Parish pastoral councils are also opportunities for people with disability to participate in Catholic leadership, he said.
“Parishes are communities with great potential to receive and nurture the giftedness of people with disability and can be a springboard for people with disability to embark on leadership roles,” Bishop Sproxton said.
Click here to read Bishop Sproxton’s letter in full.
Earlier this year, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and its Disability Projects Office produced the resource Do Not Be Afraid. It contains material for parishes and other Church organisations that minister to people with mental illness and their families.
The resources include educational material, infographics, sample articles, contacts in case of a crisis and other useful information.
Click here to visit the Do Not Be Afraid website and order the booklet.