International Day of People with a Disability

Pope Francis explained in his Message for International Day of People with Disability on December 3 that parish communities should be concerned to encourage a welcoming attitude towards people with disabilities.

“All liturgical celebrations in the parish should be accessible to the disabled so that, with their brothers and sisters, each of them can deepen, celebrate and live their faith,” Pope Francis said. This means that “People with disabilities must have access to the sacraments and the ability to be full and active participants in the life of their Catholic parish”.DisabilityPub 350

Though it takes effort to fully include everyone, according to their own gifts and talents, the Pope said, “The active participation of people with disabilities can greatly enrich the life of the whole parish”. He encouraged parishes to include them not only as ‘recipients’ of pastoral ministry, but also as ‘active subjects’.

Creating a fully accessible parish requires not only the removal of architectural barriers but, above all, helping parishioners to develop welcoming attitudes and acts of solidarity and service towards persons with disabilities and their families.

Pope Francis also said that he wanted priests, seminarians, religious, catechists and pastoral workers to receive regular training about disability and inclusion. It is important to promote a culture of life that constantly affirms the dignity of every person and works especially to defend men and women with disabilities.

To read his full message, please go to the Vatican website.


Mary Pianta. Disability Contact Coordinator.