The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference have demonstrated their commitment to improving the Church’s accessibility to all, through the launch of guidelines for celebrating the sacraments with people with disability.
This positive step helps address the concerns raised by a number of stakeholders within the Catholic Church, for greater consistency in the celebration of the sacraments throughout Australia.
The Australian Catholic Disability Council launched the guidelines with Bishop Terry Brady, the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Delegate for Disability.
“We have addressed the guidelines to families, clergy and parish leaders. They offer guidance to parishes on sacramental preparation and celebration for people with disability and for their families and carers,” Bishop Brady said.
With input and advice from the Australian Catholic Disability Council, the guidelines were prepared by the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life.
Key principles of the guidelines include: celebration and reception of the sacraments for all, full participation of people with disability and their families in the life of the Church in Australia, access into and within Church buildings, adaptation of programs, attitudinal change and dispelling myths and misconceptions about disability.
“We are called to be inclusive parishes that warmly welcome and acknowledge people with disability and their families on the journey of faith,” explained Bishop Brady.