I was especially pleased to receive this quote from a former student:
I spoke to David Gayes, a former student with whom I frequently discuss disability and Catholicism, about his experiences with inclusion. He told me that “inclusion Sundays” are pretty common in the Chicagoland Catholic community, often organized by thePathways Foundation of Chicago.
He admitted, “I have mixed feelings about them, even when they are done ‘well.’ When the people with disabilities are passive, it’s horrible. [Even] when people with disabilities are given agency, it can still go wrong.”
“As we sometimes see with MLK day or Black History Month, some people think, ‘Well, we’ve included them. We’re done. Next year, we’ll include them again,’” Gayes said.
Awareness events may be a first step, but Gayes wants to see the Church strive for something more universal. “What we need is full belonging in all faith services and programs,” he said, “full integration that is based on a respect of the gifts, talents, and contributions of each member of the community.”
So, it’s basically like all other things – full integration is the way.