Bangalore, February 16, 2020: The Archdiocesan Commission for the differently abled, Bangalore celebrated Inclusion Awareness Day on Sunday, the 16th of February, 2020 at St. Patrick’s Church, . It was the fourth such mass celebrated in the Archdiocese to raise awareness among the faithful of the need to make parishioners of all abilities feel welcome to participate in the life of the church.
Dr. Vasantha Bastian, Secretary, Parish Pastoral Council welcomed the faithful to participate in this meaningful liturgy reaffirming our belief that we are all one irrespective of our different looks and different abilities. Msgr. C. Francis presided over the Eucharistic celebration along with Rev. Fr. Rocque, Rev. Fr. Gordon and Rev. Fr. George Kannanthanam as concelebrants.
In his homily, Rev. Fr. George Kannanthanam, Secretary, Archdiocesan Commission for the differently abled described how Jesus during his earthly ministry understood the needs of the differently abled and how He went about healing and helping them and thus bringing them back to the society. “If we look at the life of Jesus, he always responded to the pleas of the differently abled and this is the call of the Church – to follow the example of Jesus” he said. He stressed the need for the faithful to actively participate in this mission by visiting and helping the various institutions that are providing shelter, education, healthcare and life skills for the differently abled. He urged the faithful and the clergy to pledge to donate their eyes as one person can provide sight to two visually impaired people.
Fr George also briefed about the project undertaken by the Archdiocese of Bangalore as an initiative to mark the “Year of the Poor” to construct houses costing Rs. 5 lakh each for the differently abled and requested the faithful to be generous towards this noble cause. One Mr Joseph came forward after the Mass to express his willingness to donate money for one house.
The angelic choir by Jyothi Seva visually impaired children elevated the Eucharist celebration into a heavenly bliss. The entire liturgy – the readings, Prayers of the faithful and the offertory were done by the specially abled members. Ms. Rupa Samson helped the hearing impaired with sign language interpretation of the entire Mass including the hymns.
Rev. Fr. Rajesh R thanked one and all on behalf of the parish. Ms. Estelle D’Souza, Joint secretary, Archdiocesan Commission for the differently abled thanked the parish clergy, the PPC and the faithful for making this Eucharistic celebration a very special one.
Along with the many differently abled, the seven innocent men of Kandhamal too participated in this Mass. Mr. Anto Akkara, Journalist and Author, briefed the congregation about the plight and the fight for justice of these seven men and their families.
After the mass, there was an informal fellowship gathering where the parish clergy, the PPC and the commission members interacted with the differently abled people and their families/caretakers.
Dr. Aloma Lobo, Mother of Nisha, said she was touched by the way our differences were recognised, accepted and celebrated with joy, thankfulness and love during today’s Mass. Nisha on her part expressed her wish to participate in more such celebrations.
“Today’s Inclusion Awareness Day at St. Partick’s Church appears to have made most introspect on the congregation’s personal attitudes to those who are differently abled, exhibited by their almost pin drop silence as all sat in rapt attention, while watching the unimagined brilliant singing and music by the choir and the overall participation by the differently abled. The inclusivity during the mass definitely alters our attitudes and demands us to overthrow our prejudices and affirm all are one.” were the views of Dr. Vasantha Bastian, Secretary of PPC.
The Inclusion Awareness Day celebration in archdiocesan parishes is opening more hearts, more minds and more doors as to the otherwise side-lined brothers and sisters in Christ.
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, Joint Secretary, Archdiocesan Commission for the Differently Abled. Email- firstname.lastname@example.org, Mob: +916364678629