Living Fully 2016 – a major international disability event – launched in Rome on 23 June with symposium ahead of a three-day conference.
The symposium opened with an address from Cardinal Ravasi, The President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
The key themes of Living Fully 2016 are a celebration of disability, culture and faith.
The conference delegates and speakers have travelled from twelve countries – including France, Croatia, Australia and the USA. Delegates and speakers include those with and without disability.
The event has been pioneered by The Kairos Forum, a Caritas member disability organisation in the UK and the Pontifical Council for Culture is a co-patron of this unique event.
One of the delegates attending the conference is Roy McCloughry, the National Disability Adviser for the Church of England:
“Disabled people often come low down the list of priorities of governments and communities. It’s profoundly refreshing then to find an ecumenical and international group gathering in Rome to reverse that. Living Fully 2016 calls all churches and communities to celebrate the gifts and callings of disabled people.”
The conference aims to demonstrate the validity of “communities of belonging for all people and all abilities. Dr Liam Waldron, a theologian, speaks at the conference on the subject of loneliness, exploring the dynamics of our culture which places a great emphasis on speedy and constant connection whereas the reality is that loneliness is a widespread problem.
“To be lonely is to live a life which is not whole and is a problem in our society today. Living Fully 2016 offers an opportunity to explore ways of connecting and belonging in our communities.”
Monsignor Melchor Sanchez, Under Secretary to The Pontifical Council for Culture summed up the key points of the conference:
“We need a cultural change not only to transform the way we relate to disabled people – but in the way we see and perceive them with God’s eyes. To sum up, we need a new approach. If we see disability positively, new outcomes will follow. “
Visit the website for the Living Fully 2016 event.