By Lydia O’Kane
The World Meeting of Families is well underway at the RDS Conference Centre in Dublin and includes a three day Pastoral Congress which is covering a wide number of themes.
One of the issues under the spotlight is that of disability.
Speaker and panelist on this topic at the Congress is Cristina Gangemi a disability advisor to the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Director of the Kairos Forum which seeks to highlight and respond to the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities.
Disability and Family
She spoke to Vatican News about her address which is about disability in the family saying, disability should be seen as a gift, a vocation and way of living, “rather than it being something that the family has to put up with or that it’s a tragedy that hit the family.” She added, that there needs to be a shift from “disability to unique abilty”.
The Kairo’s Director noted that great strides have been made in the area of disability and said that she was delighted to be part of this meeting because this issue had been included as “part of the general way of thinking about family life.”
WMOF and beyond
Asked what she would like to see coming out of this World Meeting of Families, Cristina Gangemi said, “I would like to see that the World Gathering of Families celebrates the presence of people with disabilities just as part of the Church, not as something special, not as something sentimental, but just as they are, members of the Church that breathe the breath of God and love of Christ into their family; into their parish community and that they have some space to express that love and their faith in a way that’s right for them.”