1/11/09 – Renovation Concept, Consideration 12

The work of the Liturgy Committee to date, including consultation with parishioners, has resulted in the development of a renovation concept. This concept includes a number of matters we would like considered in plans for a renovated church. One consideration for our renovation plans is:

The completion of all necessary modifications to the building to allow the full participation in liturgical celebrations of people with disabilities

Those who have contributed to the conversation so far believe this is important because:

It is essential that all forms of the liturgy be completely accessible to persons with disabilities since these forms are the essence of the spiritual tie that binds the Christian community together. To exclude members of the parish from these celebrations of the life of the Church, even by passive omission, is to deny the reality of that community. Accessibility involves far more than physical alterations to parish buildings. Realistic provision must be made for persons with disabilities to participate fully in the eucharist and other liturgical celebrations such as the sacraments of reconciliation, confirmation and anointing of the sick. (Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities; November 1978, revised 1989)

Church buildings have to facilitate many liturgical and devotional activities in addition to the celebration of Mass… They have to accommodate many different people as well. In the quest to provide an inclusive and hospitable place, access to all parts of the building should be equally available to all. As an instance of this, particular focus in recent years has been on legal changes favouring access for those with disabilities. The vocation of the community is to announce the Gospel to everyone and this has to be expressed not only in what the Church does but also in the buildings it uses. (Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Consecrated for Worship, 12)

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