Deaf track workshops show Church’s love for all

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Two interpreters in front assists the IEC delegates of the Deaf Track Workshops (Photo by: Chrixy Paguirigan)

Two interpreters in front assists the IEC delegates of the Deaf Track Workshops (Photo by: Chrixy Paguirigan)

CEBU City, Jan. 29, 2016 – The 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) delivers a clear message that the Eucharist is inclusive, expressly because the congress gives importance to deaf delegates coming from all over the world.

With the help of the International Catholic Foundation for the Service of Deaf Persons (ICF), deaf persons are given the opportunity to attend the IEC with translators always on their side to help them communicate.

“[We] want people to realize that just because a person cannot hear they are no different to any person who can hear. Different people have said it in different ways – we have one Church,” Terry O’Meara, Executive Director of ICF explained.


Deaf Track Workshops

This is the second time an IEC held a Deaf Track workshop forming a community for our deaf brothers and sisters. The first was in Dublin, Ireland during the 50th IEC.

Mrs. Mary O’Meara, wife of Terry and another organizer from the ICF, shared how important having deaf track workshops are, stating their learnings from Dublin.

“It was very important to have a track for the deaf [because] we need to ‘create awareness, telling people about what its like to be deaf in the Catholic Church and giving a place for deaf forums to really learn from one another and discuss the issues that are very important so they can grow in their faith,” Ms. O’Meara justified.

These actions have so far brought ‘greater collaboration and sharing of information [showing] how we, all over the globe live as one big team,’ Mr. O’Meara said.

They hope that their service this leads to a greater awareness of people with this disability.


A goal yet to be reached

Their goal and focus is to ‘involve deaf people in the general life of the Church because they can easily be excluded and they are not fully integrated.’

Thus far, their activities have indeed given a chance for the deaf community to be a part of major events and provide them with materials they need in their spiritual growth. With this Terry expresses his eagerness for more.

“We had a Deaf Track in IEC Dublin and we made sure we came to Cebu,” she said.  Not knowing where the next IEC will be held, she hopes that they can continue their service to the deaf delegates and says she is “looking forward to it.”.

Mrs. O’Meara says she will continue to serve people with disabilities especially the deaf believing that “there is a beauty to every person that is a child of God.”

“We are all created in the image and likeness of God. Coming to know the beauty of the deaf person in the Church is just another gift and blessing that the Church offers to us all.”

The ICF is a movement of communion among people from various countries brought together by the Holy Spirit out of a common conviction that deaf persons are called to the fullness of life in Christ’s Mystical Body, which is the Church. (Chrixy Paguirigan / CBCPNews)


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