Liturgy Notes

Preparation

International Day of People with Disability is celebrated annually on 3 December. Recognition and celebration for this day is mostly held between November and December. According to recent figures, one person in five lives with disability, and parishes may like to highlight the gifts and talents of people with disability, their families and support people. Here are some suggestions and ideas to celebrate and promote the full participation of people with disability in your parish community.

Suggested Insert for Parish Bulletins

The International Day of People with Disability is observed annually on 3 December. In Australia, over many years, the Church has sought to take this day as an opportunity to encourage a truly pastoral view that embraces our total community as the living Body of Christ. We especially pray that we, the Church, can strive to be a people of compassion and relationship, and a sacred place where our gifts are acknowledged, received and celebrated; for then we can truly proclaim that we are 'one Body in Christ'.

Welcome

The International Day of People with Disability is observed annually on 3 December. In Australia, over many years, the Church has sought to take this day as an opportunity to encourage a truly pastoral view that embraces our total community as the living Body of Christ. Today we are invited to pray for people with disability, their families and the people who support them.

Homily Suggestions

Advent calls us to watch, wait, prepare and be aware of the presence of Christ among us - within us and in the people around us. This yearning to identify Christ is satisfied in many ways but in a particularly meaningful way when we ponder the mystery of the Incarnation. To behold the divinity in the little Christ-child is to break through the barrier of aloneness and separation that was never God's desire for us from the moment of creation. This is the form chosen by God through which we can be aware of Christ in each other and in ourselves. It challenges us to accept ourselves and each other as we are, 'warts and all'. It is with this common understanding and acceptance of our limitations and our great need for God in our lives that we can be 'One Body in Christ' and even identify that He makes obvious our limitations so that we can already experience what salvation means.

As the Body of Christ, we are called to the vision expressed in the reading from Isaiah. We are called to establish truth and justice where all people enjoy full participation.

We are challenged to live in the 'light'. To throw off the darkness of the night – to take off the clothes of exclusion and fear, and appear as lights of welcome in the darkness of exclusion.

There are many urgent situations that need to be addressed as part of our duty to be awake and ready. How are we, as a parish, encouraging and promoting the full participation of people with disability and their families in our faith community?

The question is not "How can we help people with disability?" The much more important question is, "How can we allow people with disability to give their spiritual gifts to us and call us to conversion, call us to wholeness, call us to love?" - Henri Nouwen


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