The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference last week launched new guidelines about the appropriate Sacramental preparation for people with disability, the Record reports.
The purpose of the guidelines is to address the concerns raised by clergy, pastoral ministers, other concerned Catholics, people with disabilities, their advocates and their families for greater consistency in pastoral practice in the celebration of the Sacraments throughout Australia.
Gathered at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney, 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.
The guidelines are a further contribution to the efforts of the Catholic Church to advocate for ministry to and with people with disability.
Prepared by the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life with advice and assistance from the Australian Catholic Disability Council, the guidelines respond to requests for further clarification and guidance about the means for providing fuller access to the Sacraments by people with disability.
The 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," Bishop Brady said.
Photo: Patricia Mowbray, ACBC Disability projects Officer; Bishop Terry Brady and Myree Harris OAM RSJ, Chair of the Disability Council launch the guidelines.