The Bangalore Archdiocese has dedicated 2020 as the ‘Year of the Poor’. In many ways the people with disabilities suffer from poverty as they are marginalised in many ways. Continuing with its initiative the differently abled commission in association with the clergy and the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral celebrated Inclusion Awareness Day on Sunday, the 12th of January, 2020. Archbishop Most Rev. Dr. Peter Machado celebrated the Holy Mass which was concelebrated by Rev. Fr. John Antony, the Parish Priest, Rev Fr. Chinna Rao and Rev. Fr. Chowrappa, the assistant parish priests at the cathedral.
Ms. Albina Vaz, President, Vincent De Paul Society in her introduction affirmed the commitment to make the parish a place where parishioners of all abilities, even the most vulnerable are welcomed to share their gifts at the altar.
In his homily, the Archbishop drew upon today’s readings to stress the need to be inclusive in our approach in our churches and in the wider society. “God specially loves the differently abled people. In our perfectly structured world we expect uniformity and many a times, ignore people who are differently abled. But God does not show partiality. He calls each one of us irrespective of our abilities -‘This is my beloved son and this is my beloved daughter!’ God does not see what we can do or what we can give but what we are,” he said. He also paid a special tribute to all the parents of differently abled children and the various institutions that carry the burden of bringing up these children joyfully. He called them the ‘suffering servants’ who are doing the will of God.
The hymns were sung beautifully by the visually impaired children trained by the sisters of JyotiSeva Society. The children with academic difficulty from St. Francis Xavier boarding school did the readings. Students of Tarbes Community College and Nalini, a visually impaired person from the parish did the prayer of the faithful.
Rev. Fr. George Kalarimuriyil helped the hearing impaired with sign language interpretation of the entire Mass including the hymns.
Rev. Fr. John Antony thanked everyone and told how overwhelmed and happy he was to be a part of such heavenly celebration.
Mr. Vijay Kant, member of the Archdiocesan Commission for the differently abled thanked the Archbishop, the clergy, the sisters and the lay faithful who helped in making this Holy Mass a truly special one.
After the mass, there was an informal get-together where the Archbishop interacted with the differently abled people and their families/caretakers.
This has been an initiative of the Archdiocesan Commission for the differently abled to celebrate Inclusion Awareness Day in our Parishes. Last year, Inclusion Awareness Day was celebrated at Ascension Church and Vincent Pallotti Church to spread the message of inclusiveness with regard to our differently abled brothers and sisters. It is hoped that this initiative will open many more hearts and minds and make our parishes truly welcoming and inclusive.
Mass for the hearing impaired in Sign Language: A sign language mass is held every second Sunday of the month at 3:00 PM at St. Antony Chapel, St. Patrick Church, Bengaluru.
Those interested to know more about the activities of the Commission for Differently-abled, Archdiocese of Bangalore may reach out to Estelle D’Souza, CommissionMember.Email- firstname.lastname@example.org, Mob: +916364678629