Parishes across Perth are supporting people with disabilities to take an active role in Church life through inclusive and adapted liturgy Masses, The eRecord reports.
The liturgy initiative is an integral part of the Archdiocese of Perth's Personal Advocacy Service (PAS), which assists in the spiritual development of people with intellectual disability in 16 small groups operating in 13 parishes in the Archdiocese.
PAS director Ray Ryan said that for more than 20 years, the adapted liturgy services have provided people with disabilities with a Mass that is easier to understand and participate in.
“An ‘inclusive’ Mass is where people with a disability are assigned roles during the Mass which may include participating in the entrance and recessional processions, bringing up the offertory gifts or as collectors,” Mr Ryan said.
“An ‘adapted liturgy’ Mass is where the Liturgy of the Word is modified. There are only two readings and these are interpreted with people ... using gesture and movement to bring greater clarity to the meaning of the readings for people with intellectual disability.
“In addition, the congregation joins in gesture and movement for the Responsorial Psalm. Instead of a normal homily, the priest gives a synopsis of the principle message from the readings in one, simple to understand, sentence – repeated three times for the congregation.”
Mr Ryan added that the inclusive Mass, which is held on the third Sunday of each month at 9.30am at Infant Jesus Church in Morley, normally attracts around 400 people.
“Most of these are the Morley parishioners with the addition of about 20 to 30 people with intellectual disability, their advocate friends and their families,” he said.
“Many of these people are members of personal advocacy groups who come from several other parishes to attend this special Mass which has much more meaning for them.
“People with intellectual disability who are not members of PAS groups are also most welcome and are often brought along by their families.”
Adapted liturgy Masses are also held at Willetton, Bateman and Thornlie parishes from time to time. Many other parishes hold inclusive Masses where people with disability are given active roles within a normal Mass.