The theme this year is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”
Dear Friends in Christ,
This theme focuses on empowering persons with disability for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 2030 Agenda, pledging to “leave no one behind,” is an ambitious plan of action of the international community towards a peaceful and prosperous world, where dignity of an individual person and equality among all is applied as the fundamental principle. It is critical to ensure, in this regard, the full and equal participation of persons with disability in all spheres of society and includes active participation in our Church and faith communities to create enabling environments by, for and with persons with disability
In his address to people with disability in 2017, Pope Francis stated:
“We are all different. There is no one exactly like another. Differences are a richness because I have something and you have something else and by putting the two together we have something more beautiful, something greater,” He went on to say that we must not be afraid of diversity, instead, we must see diversity “as the path to improvement, to be more beautiful and richer.”
We are called and challenged to take action to ensure our communities are open and active in promoting opportunities that include people with disability. This includes work opportunities, empowering people with disability to take an active role in leadership and ensuring our faith communities are accessible physically and attitudinally, guaranteeing ‘no one is left behind’.
In particular we need to ensure that people with disability living in remote and rural areas, those who are new to our country and those struggling with the ever increasing daily expense of living are supported and encouraged in the most practical and appropriate manner This timely theme is an invitation and call to us to create and ensure a change in societal attitude that sees disability as a burden to humanity and a costly experience to society.
I invite you to consider using the materials and resources available at catholic.org.au/disability to promote, empower and recognise the gifts of people with disability and to celebrate International Day of People with Disability, which is observed on the third day of December each year. It is appropriate that we observe and celebrate the International Day of People with Disability as we prepare during the Advent season for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Thank you again for your support in this most important endeavour.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Bishop Donald Sproxton,
Bishops’ Delegate for Disability Issues
Bishops Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference