Hospitality Towards Immigrants with Special Needs in Places of Worship

Many countries, communities, and individuals are working on helping refugees and migrants by creating a welcoming environment to receive millions of dislocated people worldwide. Given the tremendous global increase in forced migratory flows, Pope Francis, himself coming from an immigrant family, insists on several encyclicals (EG, AL, LS) giving excellent support and a distinctive look to migrants and refugees. In this group, some are more vulnerable than others: children, women, and people with disabilities; perhaps the latter group is the most vulnerable one. The pope says, “I would stress that dedication and concern shown to migrants and to persons with special needs alike is a sign of the Spirit. Both situations are paradigmatic: they serve as a test of our commitment to show mercy in welcoming others and to help the vulnerable to be fully a part of our communities” (AL 47). In these two sentences, Pope Francis first arises an absolute novelty in the Church Magisterium, persons “with special needs” (and not “with disabilities”), second associates them with migrants, third reinforces the idea that both are invited to become full parts of Christian Communities. From this point of view, the biblical figure best representing the person with a disability would not be the sick or the little one, but rather the stranger. If this new perception would settle permanently, the pastoral care of persons with disabilities could soon be part of the Service for Pastoral Care of Migrants, whose mission is to humanize the encounter with foreigners, to promote solidarity with the brother and sister in trouble, and to encourage local churches to welcome all of foreign origin. This paper proposes to put together “migrant” with “disability” and present a program from the Inclusive Design Research Centre for Pastoral Welcoming and Inclusion in faith communities. … More Hospitality Towards Immigrants with Special Needs in Places of Worship

Wholehearted Silences

In a wide variety of contexts today, we face an outbreak of conflict, in which there exists a disturbing failure to understand one another in the most vital of matters. Closely partnered with this phenomenon is the widespread rejection of all dialogue in which such an understanding might occur. Intouchables, the French film directed by … More Wholehearted Silences

Rediscovering Architecture’s Role in the Proclamation of Sacred Scriptures

Profound reverence of scripture is an integral part of Christian religious life. The act of reading sacred texts has always required an appointed place, which has come to be considered sacred as well. These places constructed within the worship space — ambo, pyrgus, pulpit, and lectern, have attained powerful significance over the past two millennia.In … More Rediscovering Architecture’s Role in the Proclamation of Sacred Scriptures