Pope’s December prayer intention: ‘For people with disabilities’

Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of December 2023, and invites everyone to pray that people with disabilities may be at the center of attention in our societies.

By Devin Watkins

“Let us pray that people with disabilities may be at the center of attention in society, and that institutions offer inclusion programs that enhance their active participation.”

Pope Francis offered that invitation to Christians in The Pope Video released on Tuesday to accompany his monthly prayer intention for the universal Church.

In the video, the Pope acknowledged that people with disabilities “are among the most fragile among us.”

“Some of them suffer rejection, rooted in either ignorance or prejudice, which then marginalizes them,” he added.

Accompanying everyone with ‘big hearts’

Pope Francis therefore urged civil institutions to put in place projects that provide “access to education, employment, and places where they can express their creativity.”

Along with the inclusion of people with disabilities in society, the Pope said they need to be accompanied with “big hearts”.

“It means changing our mentality a little and opening ourselves to the abilities and talents of these people who are differently abled, both in society as well as in the life of the Church,” he said.

The Pope also invited the local churches to work toward increased access and involvement as integral members of parish life.

“Creating a completely accessible parish does not only mean eliminating physical barriers,” he said. “It also assumes that we stop talking about ‘them’ and start talking about ‘us’.”

Beauty of each person

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, which prepares the Holy Father’s monthly intention, released a press statement to note that 3 December marks the International Day of People with Disabilities.

The press release highlights that the images in The Pope Video offer visual examples of people with disabilities who are fully integrated in society, including working in restaurants, celebrating Mass, or training for paralympic athletic competitions.

Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said the December prayer intention helps us recognize “the mystery each person is.”

Just as Jesus saw the beauty and promise of each person, including those with various forms of fragility, so the Church recognizes the presence of God in everyone.

“Our very often non-inclusive societies,” said Cardinal Czerny, “need a common and concrete commitment so that, following Jesus’ example, everyone’s dignity might be respected and fraternity might grow.”

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28 November 2023, 16:00