Adelaide Archbishop's prayers for disabled

More than 100 disabled children, teenagers and their carers took part in a special prayer service in Adelaide yesterday to celebrate the gifts of people living with disabilities.

CLICK HEREThe Advertiser reports that Archbishop Philip Wilson led an ecumenical prayer service at Christian Brothers College, in the Adelaide CBD.

The service was the first of its kind hosted by the Church to commemorate the International Day of People with a Disability, held annually.

The Catholic Church in Australia also marked the Day with the release of a parish resource kit to encourage and assist the full participation of people with disability and their families in parish life.

The resource kit is a project of a national network for disability and spirituality established by the Bishops' Committee for the Family and for Life (BCFL).

It follows the success of "I Have a Story", a pastoral document for parishes which was launched last year and has sold more than 3200 copies. Prayer cards have also been distributed which celebrate the gifts of all people.

Students from Black Mountain School in the ACT packed the disability resource kit, destined for every parish in Australia, as part of their work sampling, demonstrating the Committee's commitment to promoting and encouraging full participation of people in both parish life and work life.

Peter, one of the students who packed the kit, said he enjoyed the experience: "I liked sticking on the labels," he said.

Another student, Andrew, said: "I like work". And Jessica explained there were: "Lots and lots of envelopes to label. I counted them and used rubber bands. I liked that too."

This year's theme for the Day was 'Celebration of Ability'. Disability Consultant to the BCFL, Trish Mowbray said there was much we could do, as the Body of Christ, to promote the value of people with disability.

Bishop Eugene Hurley, the Committee's Chairman, wrote in his letter to parishes that, "We need to identify those groups within our communities that are not participating fully; not because they don't want to, but because we are not inviting, encouraging and supporting them," she said. "We, as the Church, need to actively invite and welcome all; for when we include everybody in the Body of Christ, we will then be truly one."

The International Day of People with a Disability will be celebrated in a number of parishes across Australia and throughout at least two dioceses - Brisbane and Wollongong.

Prayers for disabled (The Advertiser 5/12/05)
Parish Resource Kit to Celebrate International Day of People with a Disability (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 2/12/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australialn Bishops' Committee for the Family and for Life | I Have a Story - Disability Pastoral Statement

Blind nun evicted from pub with guide dog wins payout in court (The Universe 4/12/05)
Celebrating As One - Prayer Card (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 3/12/05)
Resource List of the National Network for Disability and Spirituality (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 3/12/05)

5 Dec 2005