Past Events

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION, ROME 2017

Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church

20-22 October 2017  |  Rome, Italy

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The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, with The Kairos Forum, is honored to invite you to participate in the International Convention,

Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities:

A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church.

This International Convention will be held in Rome at the Pontifical University Urbaniana from 20-22 October 2017. The gathering is intended for those working in the area of catechesis for persons with disabilities for Episcopal Conferences, Dioceses, Parishes, Associations, and any other Ecclesial Institutions.

 

LIVING FULLY 2016, ROME

Disability, Faith and Culture – A Celebration

26-29 June 2016  |  Rome, Italy

Ben Goes to Rome! ​

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Ben Goes to Rome! Dr Mary Beth Walsh and her son Ben are travelling to Rome for Living Fully 2016 – click here to watch this inspirational YouTube clip.

Anne Masters from the Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities, Archdiocese of Newark talking with New York Catholic Radio about Living Fully 2016 – click here to listen to the interview.

CatholicPhilly.com publishes a story on Living Fully: Pilgrimage and Encounter – click here to read it!

Pastoral Letter from +Archbishop John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, USA – click here to read it!

Cristina Gangemi is interviewed by Vatican Radio! Click here to listen to it!

Another interview with Cristina Gangemi and EWTN’s Rome bureau chief Joan Lewis. Click here to listen to it!

Yet another interview with Cristina Gangemi by The Catholic Church in England and Wales. Click here to listen to it!

Keynote Speaker, Dr Liam Waldron writes an article in The Irish Catholic titled “Answering the challenge of loneliness in disability.” Read it here!

Cristina Gangemi offers a follow up interview with Vatican Radio. Listen to it here!

Cristina Gangemi being interviewed by CNA Radio. Listen to it here!

Living Fully 2016 would like to thank the following organisations for their generous support of this conference:

 

Informazione in Italiano

Living Fully 2016, Roma : Giugno 2016

Living Fully 2016; riflettere su storie di vita: di persone, di disabilità, di teologia e di Cultura.

Cos’è Living Fully 2016 ?

Due eventi a Roma, esplorano e celebrano l’importanza del luogo e il valore delle persone disabili nella cultura e negli studi della teologia: un Simposio accademico “Esplorando la Disabilità, la Teologia, la Pratica e la Cultura” 23 Giugno, in via della Conciliazione n°5; e una conferenza “Disabilità, Teologia, Cultura e Fede – una Celebrazione”, dal 24 al 26 Giugno, all’università LUMSA, Borgo Sant’Angelo.

Entrambi gli eventi celebrano le vite e le storie delle persone disabili all’interno della cultura e della fede ed introduono agli studi della disabilità, della teologia da e all’interno una prospettiva culturale. Gli eventi si svolgeranno nell’arco di tre giorni in un creativo programma parallelo per le persone con disabilità intellettive, dove possono scoprire la bellezza del loro essere.

Perché?

La vita delle persone con disabilità è spesso considerata un concetto negativo di essere umano. C’è il pericolo che questa cultura del ‘meno umano’, a volte si infiltri nella Chiesa, in cui i bisogni spirituali e religiosi delle persone disabili sono spesso esclusi dalla sua prassi generale. La disabilità non è una ramo della Chiesa, ma è una parte intrinseca di ciò che siamo, come Corpo di Cristo, e per tutta la sua vita è dono e la bellezza della diversità è ‘consueto’. Gli eventi favoriranno le comunità internazionali, in cui le persone con disabilità hanno un luogo di appartenenza e dove si celebrano le loro vite. Il nostro atto costitutivo per il cambiamento sarà dato a ciascun delegato, che a sua volta porterà lo stimolante messaggio, il valore e il benvenuto, al suo paese.

Chi è coinvolto

Il Kairos Forum e il Pontificio Consiglio della Cultura sono co-patroncini di questi eventi, con l’elaborazione, il coordinamento e la presentazione del Kairos Forum. Jean Vanier, fondatore della comunità Arca è anche patrocinio e sostenitore degli eventi. La conferenza gode: della testimonianza delle storie di persone disabili, che riflettono le voci principali; e di teologi come Hans Reinders, Miguel Romero e Bill Gaventa, che sono fondamentali per lo sviluppo di questo interessante settore di studi teologici. Gli eventi godranno anche della presenza di Jean Vanier.

Living Fully 2016; Abbracciamo i doni di tutte le persone, soprattutto le persone che vivono con disabilità: Unisciti a noi !!

 

INTERNAL CONGRESS, STRASBOURG, 2017

International Congress

Philadelphia: The Challenge of Fraternity

30 August 2017 – 2 September 2017

Strasbourg, France

 

Symposium

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The symposium will be held at the Pontifical Council for CultureNo. 5 Via Della Conciliazione, Rome. This venue is fully accessible for people living with a disability.

 

Speakers

Cristina Gangemi

Welcome and Housekeeping  |  Focussed Discussion 

Cristina Gangemi holds a Master’s degree in Pastoral Theology and Lay ministry, with a special focus on Disability. She is Director of The Kairos Forum, which focuses on enabling communities to be places of belonging for people with a disability. She has had extensive experience in Special Education, the training of specialised Lay ministers and parent support. She is currently working as coordinator of the charity, Livability Community Network. Cristina is the founding director of the Living Fully 2016 concept and events. During the 2012 games she was a spokesperson for the Christian community and is a national advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

 

Mons. Melchor Sanchez De Toca Y Alameda

Welcome and Housekeeping  |  Symposium Close

​Mons. Melchor Sanchez De Toca Y Alameda is a priest of the Archdiocese of Toledo (Spain). He studied at the Faculty of Philosophy at Universita Complutense in Madrid, Spain, then theology at the Studium Theologicum in Toledo. In Rome he read biblical theology at the Theology Faculty of the Gregorian University where he graduated in 1996. In 2006 he completed his Doctorate in Theology at the same university with a thesis on the relations between faith and culture in the contemporary Church. From 1999 he has worked in the service of the Holy See at the Pontifical Council for Culture where he was named Undersecretary in 2004.

 

His Eminence, Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi

Opening Address

​Cardinal Ravasi is an expert on the bible and biblical languages, and before coming to Rome he was Prefect of the Biblioteca-Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan and taught Old Testament Exegesis at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy.He has some 150 volumes published mainly on biblical topics: editions on the Psalms and the Book of Job, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiasticus. He has also earned popular fame for his writings Breve storia dell’anima (Mondadori, 2003), Le sorgenti di Dio (San Paolo, 2005), Ritorno alle virtù (Mondadori, 2005), Le porte del peccato (Mondadori, 2007), 500 curiosità della fede (Mondadori, 2009), Questioni di fede (Mondadori, 2010) and Le Parole del mattino (Mondadori, 2011).  Cardinal Ravasi collaborates with newspapers – for fifteen years he wrote for the daily paper Avvenire and currently writes for L’Osservatore Romano and Il Sole 24 Ore – and has his own television activity with the Sunday programme Le frontiere dello Spirito on the Italian mainstream Canale 5.  In 2007 the University of Urbino gave him the Laurea h. c. in Anthropology and Epistemology of Religions. And in 2010 he was enrolled as an honorary member of the Accademia delle Belle Arti di Brera and given at the same time the Honoris Causa of the Diploma di Secondo Livello in Comunicazione e Didattica dell’Arte.

 

Dr Zachariah Duke

Chairperson

Zach’s recently completed PhD was entitled: ‘A critical analysis of a theology of disability in the Australian Catholic Church: a qualitative inquiry of contemporary inclusionary practices’. His main areas of research are: theological voices of marginalized and vulnerable people; disability theology; perspectives on ecclesiology and ethnography; the art and processes of theological reflection; the relationship between empirical theology and the social sciences; and the impact of service care in religious organisations.

 

Professor Hans Reinders

Paper: ‘Seeing with the Eyes of God’  |  Focussed Discussion  |  Final Reflection

​Johannes (Hans) S. Reinders received his PhD from VU University Amsterdam, where he is Professor of Ethics, and Professor of Disability and Ethics in Long Term Care since 1995, which covers his main field of academic research. He has been a visiting scholar in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and a resident scholar at the Centre for Theological Inquiry in Princeton. In 2007 he was the co-founder of the European Society for the Study of Theology and Disability (ESSTD). Since 2010 he acts as General Editor of the Journal of Disability & Religion.

 

Dr Mary Beth Walsh

Paper: ‘Autism, Culture, Church: From Disruption to Hope’

Mary Beth (MB) Walsh is the mother of an older teenager significantly affected by autism, and a typically developing college student.  She is an alumna of Haverford College (B.A.), the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (M.A.), and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (M.Phil. Ph.D.).  Over the years we have learned that moral questions regarding the lives of Disabled People are decided by how they are perceived. This does not only hold for the questions raised in bioethics about whether or not disabled lives ought to be prevented from coming into being. It also holds for the questions raised within disability services about how to support disabled people and their families. In other words, in all these questions the decisive point is how disability is taken to affect the human being. The Christian tradition has not been known for accepting Disabled People as human beings per se. It often has set them apart, either in positive or negative ways. This paper will attempt to show how the tendency to think about Disabled People as ‘special’ can be overcome by raising a different question: “How would it be to try and see Disabled People with the eyes of God”. She currently works as a peer l with MOM2MOM, a peer-support, New Jersey help-line for mothers of individuals with special needs offered by Rutgers University Behavioural Health Care.  Much of her advocacy work for individuals with autism Autism Task Force of the National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities, and continues to serve on the Executive Advisory Board for the Office of Pastoral Ministries with Persons with Disabilities of the Archdiocese of Newark. Walsh is co-editor of the resource, Journey into Community: Including Individuals with Autism in Faith Communities that was published by the Boggs Centre on Developmental Disabilities. Walsh’s advocacy also focuses on the right of individuals with autism to evidence-based interventions. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT). She is the author of the article, The Top Ten Reasons the Child with Autism Deserves ABA. (Behavior Analysis in Practice: 2011).

 

Ms Martina Vuk

Paper: ‘Friendship with People with Disabilities as a Form of Mutual Transformation – Illusion or Reality? Theological and ethical perspectives on the implication of anthropology of vulnerability and personal uniqueness in the context of L´Arche community’

Martina Vuk was born in Croatia. She is concerned with the questions of anthropology of human vulnerability, friendship and intersubjectivity within the domain of social ethics and moral theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. It was during a three-year commitment (2009–2012) in three associations belonging to the International Federation of L’Arche communities (Ireland, France and Croatia) that this working hypothesis began to take shape. The two years of a prior Master’s program in the Theological Ethics department at KU Leuven, Belgium, explored the problems of a lack of an adequate interpretation of friendship relationships for people with disabilities (Vuk, Martina. Vanier ́s Thinking of Vulnerability: Referring Aristotle’s Concept of Friendship, unpublished Master’s Thesis, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium, 2013), as well as problems of contemporary theo-socio-anthropological perspectives on vulnerability and disability (Vuk, Martina. Vulnerability and Disability: An Ethical and Theological Analysis, unpublished Research Master’s Thesis, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium, 2014). The present project is part of my doctoral work at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

 

Rev Bill Gaventa

Paper: ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: Addressing both Resistance and Progress in recognising the Spiritual Dimensions of Care and Supports’

Bill Gaventa is currently Director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability as well as the new Collaborative on Faith and Disability, linking a number of University Centres of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities who are addressing spirituality through initiatives in training, technical assistance, research, and/or dissemination. He was formerly Director of Community and Congregational Supports at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Centre on Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey. Bill’s primary areas of experience and expertise are spiritual and faith based supports with people with disabilities, training for clergy, seminarians and community services staff, aging and end of life/grief issues in intellectual and developmental disabilities, cultural competence, and community building. As a writer and editor, he has edited newsletters and several book, written articles and chapters, and served as the Editor of the Journal of Religion, Disability and Health for 14 years, now as an Associate Editor. He is an ordained American Baptist clergyman.

Ms Zsuzsanna Demeter

Paper: ‘Being Disabled on the Journey of Faith’

Zsuzsanna Demeter was born in Miercurea Ciuc in Transylvania, Romania in 1961. She obtained an engineer degree in 1985, and an informatics degree in 1990. After the fall of the communist dictatorship, she obtained a special teacher diploma in 2008, writing her thesis about how young disabled people develop their image of God. In 2010 she obtained a master degree in mental hygiene with a thesis about the social reintegration of serious criminals. From 2007 she coordinates the programs for disabled persons at Caritas Alba Iulia, she is teaching in the adult education field, lifeway coordination and mentoring. She coordinates also two day-care centres for disable persons and a socialising program in 9 localities. At the Caritas Alba Iulia she and her team organise every year conferences for professionals who work with disabled people. In 2015, at the 9th conference participated 230 professionals. With the beginning of 2007 she leads helping groups for families with disabled members, and also from 2013 she leads lifeway coordination courses too. Her articles regarding to helping disabled people were published in more ecclesiastical and educational magazines. Her main work area is in the field of families raising disabled children

 

Dr Miguel J Romero

Focused Discussion

Romero’s research interests include moral theology, Catholic social teaching, disability, and the theology of Thomas Aquinas. His written work includes: “Liberation, Development, and Human Advancement in Caritas in Veritate” (Nova et Vetera, 2010); “Aquinas on the corporis infirmitas: Broken Flesh and the Grammar of Grace” in Disability in the Christian Tradition (Eerdmans, 2012); “The Call To Mercy: Veritatis Splendor and the Preferential Option for the Poor” (Nova et Vetera, 2013); and “Aquinas on Happiness and Those Who Lack the Use of Reason” (The Thomist, 2016).

 

Sr Veronica Donatello

Paper: ‘O Tutti o Nessuno: Papà Francesco 11 Giugno 2016 (Or Everybody or Nobody: Pope Francis 11 June 2016)

Sister Veronica is both a daughter and sister of disabled people, She holds a master’s degree in the area of Autism, Special Educational Needs and parenting. Sister Veronica is a trained interpreter in international sign language and theology and is currently completing a doctorate in the science of education within the Pontifical, Salesian university. She also holds a licence in Catechesis. Sister Veronica has authored numerous publications and articles for pastoral journals newspapers and is an expert in inclusive, educational and catechetical dynamics.  She is responsible for the catechesis of disabled people across Italy, working for the national office of Catechesis in the Italian Bishop’s Conference, her ministry lies within the Sector for disability and Catechesis.

 

Ms Anne Masters

Paper: ‘Don’t Worry: He’s In a Perpetual State of Grace’

​Anne Masters, M.A., Director of Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities for the Archdiocese of Newark where she works on structures of support at the parish level for the inclusion and participation of individuals with disabilities in the life of the Church. She is also a Fellow of American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) serves as the Past President of its Religion and Spirituality Division. She has contributed to the work of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), is currently on its Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and is a member of the Board of Directors for Friendship Ministries. Anne has worked in various areas of pastoral ministry as a lay ecclesial minister in the San Francisco Bay Area and northern New Jersey, and presents widely on inclusive catechetical and pastoral practices including interfaith collaboration. She is a PhD student in Theology at Vrei Amsterdam University. Her most recent publications are: Pastoral Ministry WITH Persons WITH Disabilities Parish Resource Guide available from Advocate Publishing Corporation and “Working With Catholics,” Learning to Lead, with Msgr. Richard Arnhols, M.Div. (SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2013).

 

Fr Bill Braviner

Paper: ‘The Jesus Model: The Person with Disabilities and the Disabled God’ (with Mr David Lucas)

Fr Bill Braviner MA FCA is a priest in the Church of England, serving in a large urban parish on Teesside. He has suffered with stress-related anxiety and depression in the past, and is acutely aware of the need to give proper attention to, and care for, mental health issues. He has been engaged in work to build relationships between sighted and visually impaired people for many years, work which expanded to include all abilities/disabilities several years ago. He reminds people that everyone is on the ‘disability spectrum’ – nobody is without some disability, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual – and has a passion to see the church become a place where inclusion is a reality for all people, at whichever point on the disability spectrum they find themselves.

 

Mr David Lucas

Paper: ‘The Jesus Model: The Person with Disabilities and the Disabled God’ (with Fr Bill Braviner)

David Lucas MA is the proud owner of guide dog Jarvis and, previously, guide dog Abbot. He is a qualified access auditor and low vision awareness trainer. Dave is an expert on “Clear Print”. He has delivered training to many organisations including many churches. Dave built and maintains the Disability & Jesus website as well as looking after the organisation’s presence on Facebook and Twitter. He is registered blind.

 

Mr Marco Montalli

Paper: ‘MS Network: People in Network – A Way out of Isolation’ (with Mr Lello Orso)

Marco Montali is marketing or Commercial manager at General Motors Italia, Honda Auto Italia, Breil Group, Fossil, Villeroy & Boch, Elemedia, IlSole24ore, RCS Mediagroup.  Entrepreneur at TailoRadio, specialized in web radio, in-store radio and digital signage. Diagnosed with MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (now in secondary progressive phase) in 1988.  Volunteer at AISM (Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla).

 

Mr Lello Orso

Paper: ‘MS Network: People in Network – A Way out of Isolation’ (with Mr Marco Montalli)

Lello Orso’s career began in media, specifically TV and Italian Radio. His passion for all things media led him to the North American media market. From there he evolved and broadened his professional practice to include corporate communications and entrainment industry affairs.

 

Ms Alessandra Palazzotti

Paper: ‘Building Community through Special Olympics’

Alessandra Palazzotti is the National Director of Special Olympics Italy from 2004. She held the Marketing and Fundraising sector of Special Olympics for 4 year before starting to work as Games Director of the Special Olympics European Youth Games held in 2006 (1500 Athletes from 57 Countries). From 2004 she managed, with her staff, the organization of the National Games (one Winter and at least one Summer every year) and she organized the participation of the Italian Team at the World Games. She was the Head of Delegation in Nagano 2005, Shanghai 2007, Athens 2011, Los Angeles 2015. From 2006 to 2014 she was part of the Europe Eurasia Leadership Council, the Board of Special Olympics at European level. She held as a Chair one of the 8 Workgroups that were formed at Global level to create the new Strategic Plan of the Movement. She conceived and followed several fundraising and communication campaign for Special Olympics Italy. She received the recognition of the Bronze Star of Merit from the National Olympic Committee.

 

 

Conference

Friday, 24 June 2016 – Sunday, 26 June 2016

The conference will be held at LUMSA UniversityMaria Ss. Assunta – Via della Traspontina, Rome. This venue is fully accessible for people living with a disability.

In parallel to the programme of speakers and workshops (Conference Programme B), there will be a full programme of creative sessions (Conference Programme A), following the same themes but exploring these in ways particularly suited to participants with intellectual disability. These sessions will include art, discussion, dance, sign language, drama and mime.

Speakers: Conference A

 

Ms Cristina Gangemi

Welcome and Housekeeping  |  Workshop: ‘EveryBody Has a Story’ (with Mr Chris Henley)  |  Interactive Discussion: ‘A Charter for the Church’ (with Mr Mat Ray & Dr Zachariah Duke)

Cristina Gangemi holds a Master’s degree in Pastoral Theology and Lay ministry, with a special focus on Disability. She is Director of The Kairos Forum, which focuses on enabling communities to be places of belonging for people with a disability. She has had extensive experience in Special Education, the training of specialised Lay ministers and parent support. She is currently working as coordinator of the charity, Livability Community Network. Cristina is the founding director of the Living Fully 2016 concept and events. During the 2012 games she was a spokesperson for the Christian community and is a national advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

 

Professor Hans Reinders

Introduction

​Johannes (Hans) S. Reinders received his PhD from VU University Amsterdam, where he is Professor of Ethics, and Professor of Disability and Ethics in Long Term Care since 1995, which covers his main field of academic research. He has been a visiting scholar in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and a resident scholar at the Centre for Theological Inquiry in Princeton. In 2007 he was the co-founder of the European Society for the Study of Theology and Disability (ESSTD). Since 2010 he acts as General Editor of the Journal of Disability & Religion.

 

Ms Julia FitzSimons & Hand in Hand

Opening Prayer  |  Workshop: ‘We pray: Difference ways of prayer …’

​Since qualifying as a social worker, Julia FitzSimons has worked for a number of organizations with adults who have intellectual disabilities. These include managing a community house in Edinburgh and developing services for the Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. More recently she has volunteered in a number of areas and has helped to establish Hand in Hand, a group of adults with and without intellectual disabilities who use music, drama and sign language to explore their faith and prayer together. Hand in Hand is a deanery group, open to all, which meets monthly in the Warwick/Leamington Spa area in England.  They aim to build a supportive community and explore faith by using symbol, art, drama, sign language and music, adopting a ‘symbolic catechesis’ approach, developed to meet the different stages of faith, different cultures and different intellectual abilities in their diverse parishes.  Members range in age from 20’s to 70+ and reflect this diversity.

 

Mr Joe Apicella 

Opening Prayer/Prayer  |  Workshops: ‘Liturgy preparation 1 and 2’ & ‘Planning for liturgy’

​Joe was educated at St Thomas the Apostle school in Peckham before going to Shoreditch College in Egham where he studied Design Technology and Maths. He then taught DT and Maths in two South London Comprehensive schools. In 1982 he had his first introduction to working with people with special needs when he joined a group taking disabled children to Lourdes with HCPT.  Joe has continued to take disabled children to Lourdes with HCPT ever since. In 1986 Joe transferred from teaching in main stream to Special Education. He is currently PMLD coordinator at Watergate School in Lewisham, London. Whilst re-qualifying for teaching in Special Education Joe conducted research through Brunel University on how children with learning difficulties acquire number skills. Joe runs music and liturgy at his parish church and plays in a local folk orchestra.

 

Ms Pauline McGill

Opening Prayer/Prayer

​Pauline has been a member of several choirs since the age of seven, including church choirs, operatic societies and classical chorales. She is a cantor at her local church. She has taught primary aged children with a range of learning difficulties and physical disabilities for 25 years, prior to her retirement in 2014, and now works with adults who have learning difficulties at a Care Home, teaching horticulture and therapeutic gardening. She converted to Catholicism in 2004.

 

Mr Mike Harris

Communications Facilitator & Safeguarding Officer

​Originally Mike worked in statutory day services for adults for ten years and currently for over ten years in children’s specialist services in the London Borough of Southwark as a Communication Specialist and consultant. He is experienced in communication methods in the widest sense. He is a qualified SEN teacher, a Makaton Senior and Regional Tutor and a Child and Adult Professional Advocate. Mike has been working closely with the Kairos Forum since its inception.  He has been quoted on two continents and was the communication adviser working on the research project ‘EveryBody Has a Story’, undertaken by the Kairos Forum.

 

Mr Chris Henley

Workshop: ‘This is Me / Who are we?’  |  Workshop: ‘EveryBody Has a Story’ (with Ms Cristina Gangemi)

​Chris was born in Tamworth Staffordshire UK, but has lived almost all my life (so far) in South London. He has a Teaching Degree (B.Ed) from St Mary’s College of Education  (now University) and has been a teacher for 38 years. Chris’ career has been more-or-less equally divided between teaching in Catholic primary schools and (after accompanying two groups to Lourdes) teaching in a secondary special school for people with severe learning disabilities. During this time, he has assisted in his parish as a catechist working with young people preparing for Confirmation and adults involved in the RCIA as well as leading Liturgy of the Word for children and other children’s catechetical activities.

 

Fr Alex Gowing-Cumber

Welcome and Introduction  |  Workshop: ‘What is good about being me?’

​Fr. Alex Gowing-Cumber is a self-supporting Anglican priest.  Alex is a life coach, Creative Therapist, Spiritual Director and an artist. His specialty is non-verbal communication and thrives when working with people on the autistic spectrum, those with Down’s syndrome and selective mutes. He has spastic paraplegia and is on the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum. Alex enjoys removing his hearing aids to celebrate the gift of silence.

 

Ms Gail Williams

Workshop: ‘What does it mean to be me in my Faith Community? What do I want to do?’

​Gail is the Centre Manager of Caritas St Joseph’s in Hendon, a lifelong learning centre for over 200 adults with intellectual disabilities. Motivated by her love of sharing her faith, Gail trained as a catechist for people with intellectual disabilities and volunteered in her parish until 2010, when she became an outreach co-ordinator for the Diocese of Westminster. She strives to create a place where her students feel they belong, and where they can find friendship, family and love. Gail has two grown-up sons and enjoys music, dancing, art and reading in her spare time. Caritas St Joseph’s aims to enable people with learning disabilities to participate fully in the life of their church and community. In all that we do, we recognise the gifts and talents of people with learning disabilities, and value their unique place in the world. Part of the extensive RC Diocese of Westminster, a registered charity (no. 233699), we work in two main areas: (1) we support families who embrace members with learning disabilities in the parishes in London and in Hertfordshire – which is our Outreach work; and (2) at the Activities Centre in Hendon, over 220 students, from all faiths or none, participate in our varied programme of courses.

 

Dr Luca Badetti

Workshop: ‘My Gifts. Claiming, living and advocating for our Gifts in Community and Society’

Luca has a PhD in Disability Studies. He examines human experience and disability’s place in it from a scholarly interdisciplinary background and his communal journey. Before his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, he obtained a MS in Clinical Psychology and a BA in Theology with studies in Philosophy. Luca is a fellow of LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities), has been a research assistant at the Institute on Disability and Human Development in Chicago (working on projects related to Special Olympics, Aging and Disability Resource Centers. The Autism Program, etc.), has taught on disability and human development at UIC, and has provided mental health therapy as an intern at the Developmental Disabilities Family Clinics.  Luca is a Scientific Committee Member for a Disability Studies book series (Erickson editions) and is on the Advisory Committee for the Italian Journal of Disability Studies. He has recently given a TEDx talk on embracing (in)abilities. In his current role at L’Arche Chicago, Luca oversees and supports community life. He has been a live-in assistant at L’Arche Irenicon, L’Arche in Rome (Italy) and L’Arche Trosly (France), and has co-chaired L’Arche USA National Inclusion Team.

 

Ms Talitha Cooreman-Guittin 

Workshop: ‘We pray: Getting to the Heart of the Matter’

​Born in 1971 – Mother of three young adults; Full-time Youth Minister for the Archdiocese of Strasburg – France; PhD-student in Practical Theology at the University of Strasburg.  Thesis subject: “The perception of intellectual disability in the catechetical pedagogy of the Catholic Church.

 

Mr Mat Ray

Interactive Discussion: ‘A Charter for the Church’ (with Ms Cristina Gangemi & Dr Zachariah Duke)

​Mat Ray works for Livability, a British disability and community engagement charity that traces its roots back over 170 years. With a background in communications and training, Mat is passionate about seeing churches become places of welcome and belonging for everyone in the community. As well as training on disability, Mat has produced church resources on dementia, mental health and wellbeing. Mat is a member of the Borough Common, an experimental emerging church in London.

 

Bishop Paul Hendricks

Closing Address

​The Right Reverend Paul Hendricks is an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Southwark. Born in Beckenham, Kent, Bishop Hendricks was ordained to the priesthood in 1984. He was ordained bishop on 14 February 2006. He worked for two years at the GEC Hirst Research Centre, Wembley before going to study for the priesthood at the English College, Rome, from 1979 to 1985.  He obtained a Licence in Philosophy from the Gregorian University, Rome.  In 1989 he was appointed Philosophy Lecturer and Bursar at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh. He is also the Diocesan Advisor on New Religious movements and Cults. Bishop Hendricks has responsibility for the South West pastoral area of the Diocese. He is a member of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Dialogue and Unity and holds the national responsibility for disability.

 

Dr Zachariah Duke

Interactive Discussion: ‘A Charter for the Church’ (with Mr Mat Ray & Dr Zachariah Duke)

​Zach’s recently completed PhD was entitled: ‘A critical analysis of a theology of disability in the Australian Catholic Church: a qualitative inquiry of contemporary inclusionary practices’. His main areas of research are: theological voices of marginalized and vulnerable people; disability theology; perspectives on ecclesiology and ethnography; the art and processes of theological reflection; the relationship between empirical theology and the social sciences; and the impact of service care in religious organisations.

 

Speakers: Conference B

 

Ms Cristina Gangemi

Welcome and Housekeeping  |  Reflective Discussion: ‘Gathering the Stories: Working together in the Word’  |  Interactive Workshop:’A World of Gifts’ (with Mr Mat Ray)

Cristina Gangemi holds a Master’s degree in Pastoral Theology and Lay ministry, with a special focus on Disability. She is Director of The Kairos Forum, which focuses on enabling communities to be places of belonging for people with a disability. She has had extensive experience in Special Education, the training of specialised Lay ministers and parent support. She is currently working as coordinator of the charity, Livability Community Network. Cristina is the founding director of the Living Fully 2016 concept and events. During the 2012 games she was a spokesperson for the Christian community and is a national advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

 

Professor Hans Reinders

Introduction  |  Keynote Speaker: ‘Moving Forward’

​Johannes (Hans) S. Reinders received his PhD from VU University Amsterdam, where he is Professor of Ethics, and Professor of Disability and Ethics in Long Term Care since 1995, which covers his main field of academic research. He has been a visiting scholar in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and a resident scholar at the Centre for Theological Inquiry in Princeton. In 2007 he was the co-founder of the European Society for the Study of Theology and Disability (ESSTD). Since 2010 he acts as General Editor of the Journal of Disability & Religion.

 

Ms Julia FitzSimons & Hand in Hand

Opening Prayer  |  Workshop: ‘We pray: Difference ways of prayer …’

​Since qualifying as a social worker, Julia FitzSimons has worked for a number of organizations with adults who have intellectual disabilities. These include managing a community house in Edinburgh and developing services for the Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. More recently she has volunteered in a number of areas and has helped to establish Hand in Hand, a group of adults with and without intellectual disabilities who use music, drama and sign language to explore their faith and prayer together. Hand in Hand is a deanery group, open to all, which meets monthly in the Warwick/Leamington Spa area in England.  They aim to build a supportive community and explore faith by using symbol, art, drama, sign language and music, adopting a ‘symbolic catechesis’ approach, developed to meet the different stages of faith, different cultures and different intellectual abilities in their diverse parishes.  Members range in age from 20’s to 70+ and reflect this diversity.

 

Mr Joe Apicella 

Opening Prayer/Prayer  |  Workshops: ‘Liturgy preparation 1 and 2’ & ‘Planning for liturgy’

​Joe was educated at St Thomas the Apostle school in Peckham before going to Shoreditch College in Egham where he studied Design Technology and Maths. He then taught DT and Maths in two South London Comprehensive schools. In 1982 he had his first introduction to working with people with special needs when he joined a group taking disabled children to Lourdes with HCPT.  Joe has continued to take disabled children to Lourdes with HCPT ever since. In 1986 Joe transferred from teaching in main stream to Special Education. He is currently PMLD coordinator at Watergate School in Lewisham, London. Whilst re-qualifying for teaching in Special Education Joe conducted research through Brunel University on how children with learning difficulties acquire number skills. Joe runs music and liturgy at his parish church and plays in a local folk orchestra.

 

Ms Pauline McGill

Opening Prayer/Prayer

​Pauline has been a member of several choirs since the age of seven, including church choirs, operatic societies and classical chorales. She is a cantor at her local church. She has taught primary aged children with a range of learning difficulties and physical disabilities for 25 years, prior to her retirement in 2014, and now works with adults who have learning difficulties at a Care Home, teaching horticulture and therapeutic gardening. She converted to Catholicism in 2004.

 

Mons. Melchor Sanchez De Toca Y Alameda

Opening Address

​Mons. Melchor Sanchez De Toca Y Alameda is a priest of the Archdiocese of Toledo (Spain). He studied at the Faculty of Philosophy at Universita Complutense in Madrid, Spain, then theology at the Studium Theologicum in Toledo. In Rome he read biblical theology at the Theology Faculty of the Gregorian University where he graduated in 1996. In 2006 he completed his Doctorate in Theology at the same university with a thesis on the relations between faith and culture in the contemporary Church. From 1999 he has worked in the service of the Holy See at the Pontifical Council for Culture where he was named Undersecretary in 2004.

 

Mr James Parker

Introductions

​James is British but resides permanently in Western Australia. He is adopted and recently discovered his eight Muslim brothers and sisters. He has worked with elite sportspeople and, after converting to Catholicism, has engaged with the Catholic Church across the globe. He has served at most levels of the Church, working for the Vatican, serving three cardinals in London, chairing More Than Gold – one of the world’s largest ecumenical initiatives serving the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and more recently as communications director for the Archdiocese of Perth. In 2013, he was the first non-Italian to receive Italy’s prestigious annual pro-life award for his commitment to honour those with disabilities. As an abuse survivor, James has a passion for the godly restoration of men and women. He loves going to the beach, and has fallen in love with Australian football. James is married with one daughter.

 

Mr Sean Rooney, with Mr Fred Grant

Keynote Speaker: ‘Coming in from the Wilderness’

​Sean Rooney is a fully participating member of the Catholic Church.  Despite physical and speech disabilities, he finds the time and makes the effort to help people of all abilities enjoy the gifts that God and the Church have to give.  He challenges preconceptions by taking an active role in administrative and organisational activities of the Church, where he is often the only disabled person.  He is a living example of the inadequacy of conventional labels with regard to ‘intellectual disability’. Fred Grant has had the privilege of working with Sean for the past five years as an enabler.  Between them they have taken on a number of projects, including organising all-ability retreats at Worth Abbey in Sussex and research projects for the Southwark Diocesan Centre for Catholic Formation.

 

Ms Gabriella Pitzalis​

Keynote Speaker: ‘Family Witness: Life with Eduardo’

​Our family history was born twenty five years ago, when we, Eugenio and Gabriella, got married after a seven-year engagement. Today we have two sons Henry and Edward. We live always in Cagliari, the city where we work and where our children study and strive to build their future. We observe, give space and support each potential that occurs day by day and our children are our greatest commitment; in my story I share how we try to carry this commitment and love forward thinking and choosing to see them for who they are.

 

Dr Mary Beth Walsh

Keynote Speaker: ‘Taking Ben to Church: Lessons Learned’

​Mary Beth (MB) Walsh is the mother of an older teenager significantly affected by autism, and a typically developing college student.  She is an alumna of Haverford College (B.A.), the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (M.A.), and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (M.Phil. Ph.D.). She currently works as a peer counselor with MOM2MOM, a peer-support, New Jersey help-line for mothers of individuals with special needs offered by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.  Much of her advocacy work for individuals with autism has focused on inclusion in faith communities. For two years she served as Co-Chair of the Autism Task Force of the National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities, and continues to serve on the Executive Advisory Board for the Office of Pastoral Ministries with Persons    with Disabilities of the Archdiocese of Newark.

 

Dr Pia Matthews

Keynote Speaker: ‘The Wonder of Who I am:a Theology of the Body’

​Dr. Pia Matthews is a lecturer in bioethics, medical law and healthcare chaplaincy at St John’s Seminary Wonersh, and at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Pope Francis appointed Pia as an expert at the 2015 Synod of the Family. She and her husband have eight children, one of whom has Rett Syndrome. Pia has written several articles and her two recent books Pope John Paul II and the Apparently ‘Non-Acting’ Person and God’s Wild Flowers: Saints with Disabilities are published by Gracewing.

 

Sr Veronica Donatello

Keynote Speaker: ‘Call to Change’

Sister Veronica is both a daughter and sister of disabled people, She holds a master’s degree in the area of Autism, Special Educational Needs and parenting. Sister Veronica is a trained interpreter in international sign language and theology and is currently completing a doctorate in the science of education within the Pontifical, Salesian university. She also holds a licence in Catechesis. Sister Veronica has authored numerous publications and articles for pastoral journals newspapers and is an expert in inclusive, educational and catechetical dynamics.  She is responsible for the catechesis of disabled people across Italy, working for the national office of Catechesis in the Italian Bishop’s Conference, her ministry lies within the Sector for disability and Catechesis.

 

Dr Liam Waldron

Keynote Speaker: ‘Living fully: the challenge of loneliness’ 

​Liam Waldron is from County Mayo in the west of Ireland. He is a graduate of University College, Dublin, the University of Limerick and the University of Aberdeen where he completed his Ph.D. in Theology in 2012. While he works full time in the fields of higher education academic student support and academic practice development, he retains a strong interest in pastoral theology, particularly around questions related to disability which was the focus of his Ph.D. thesis. He is Chairperson of Welcoming Church Forum, a voluntary body comprising people with disabilities, their families and supporters, theologians and pastors, which works ecumenically across the city of Aberdeen to assist them in developing their pastoral response to those frequently isolated or even forgotten due to disability.

 

Rev Bill Gaventa

Focussed Discussion: ‘Gathering the Stories: Celebrating the Gift’ (with Dr Luca Badetti)

Bill Gaventa is currently Director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability as well as the new Collaborative on Faith and Disability, linking a number of University Centres of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities who are addressing spirituality through initiatives in training, technical assistance, research, and/or dissemination. He was formerly Director of Community and Congregational Supports at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Centre on Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey. Bill’s primary areas of experience and expertise are spiritual and faith based supports with people with disabilities, training for clergy, seminarians and community services staff, aging and end of life/grief issues in intellectual and developmental disabilities, cultural competence, and community building. As a writer and editor, he has edited newsletters and several book, written articles and chapters, and served as the Editor of the Journal of Religion, Disability and Health for 14 years, now as an Associate Editor. He is an ordained American Baptist clergyman.

 

Dr Luca Badetti

Focussed Discussion: ‘Gathering the Stories: Celebrating the Gift’ (with Rev Bill Gaventa)

Luca has a PhD in Disability Studies. He examines human experience and disability’s place in it from a scholarly interdisciplinary background and his communal journey. Before his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, he obtained a MS in Clinical Psychology and a BA in Theology with studies in Philosophy. Luca is a fellow of LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities), has been a research assistant at the Institute on Disability and Human Development in Chicago (working on projects related to Special Olympics, Aging and Disability Resource Centers. The Autism Program, etc.), has taught on disability and human development at UIC, and has provided mental health therapy as an intern at the Developmental Disabilities Family Clinics.  Luca is a Scientific Committee Member for a Disability Studies book series (Erickson editions) and is on the Advisory Committee for the Italian Journal of Disability Studies. He has recently given a TEDx talk on embracing (in)abilities. In his current role at L’Arche Chicago, Luca oversees and supports community life. He has been a live-in assistant at L’Arche Irenicon, L’Arche in Rome (Italy) and L’Arche Trosly (France), and has co-chaired L’Arche USA National Inclusion Team.

 

Ms Sarah A Long

‘This is Me, Culture, the Body and the ‘Imago Dei’

Sarah has had over 20 years’ experience of working within the disability rights movement. She speaks and therefore writes from an emplaced position, working within the disability studies academic discipline, applying a cross impairment perspective. Previously she has worked as a community development worker for an organisation of disability within the UK, a local government officer, and researcher / consultant for various organisations. Sarah is a disability arts officer for a national arts company, and frequently attended pilgrimages to Lourdes. She has the support of her team of personal assistants to live, study and enjoy life, and is very grateful to them for helping her through this difficult time and getting to speak at this conference.

 

Ms Edel Rae

Keynote Speaker: ”A Quest to Belong’

Edel was born in Liverpool, and educated at Brigidine Convent School, North Wales. She moved to London after ‘A’ Levels to start a career in the Arts, working continuously and with progression for various major arts organisations, and ultimately being employed as a casting director at The National Theatre until the birth of her first child, George. (1990). Soon after George arrived the family moved to Cheshire for her then husband’s work. In 1992 Joseph-Henry was born. It soon became apparent that Joe was a child who would need additional care so any hope she had about resuming a career had to be put to one side. She had to re-align her thinking and learn to create the best family life she could with the added challenging dynamic of Joe’s profound disabilities. From the start she accepted Joe for who he was. Not once did she wish him to be ‘normal’ for to do so would have felt like a betrayal of his spirit. So she found herself with a new and unexpected role of mother and carer … a role that would demand a different type of creativity.  Edel’s witness and story will open up issues facing the family in today’s world.

 

“Il Chicco’, L’Arche Community Rome

Keynote Speakers: ”Living in the Domestic Church: an Ecumenical Celebration’

“Il Chicco” is a L’ Arche community in which adults with a severe disability live, and was founded in the Ciampino region 34 years ago, its first residents being children who today have become men and women:  our community is their home, their family and their life. Il Chicco currently accommodates 18 people in three homes that are called ‘hearths’. Every hearth is a place of life where we try to create a family atmosphere and where everyone feels “at home”. Each hearth themselves takes care of all the various aspects of home life: meals, shopping, cleaning, laundry, personal care, entertainment, rest, prayer. In the morning they go to “work” in the laboratories of the daily centre where you do ceramics, music, physical therapy, floriculture and many other activities. At 1500, all return home to share aspects of every day life: a little rest, a walk, a birthday party, a friend who comes to spend some time together.  We are supported by volunteers who freely donate their time helping with daily activities and there are many friends who, whilst not sharing their time, allow us to live with dignity through financial donations.

 

Fr Don Luigi D’Errico

Keynote Speaker: ‘”….And you will always eat at my Table….”

Don Luigi D’Errico, was ordained 22 May 1994 in St Peters. He is a graduate of law, journalism and a teacher of moral theology. For twelve years he was parish priest in Windish in Switzerland. Since 2007 he has been parish priest in Rome, in the inclusive parish of the Holy Martyrs of Uganda. Since 2014 he has held responsibility for the sector of catechesis and disability, within the department for catechesis in the diocese of Rome. He is also a member of the Diocesan Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue.

 

Ms Anne Masters

Reflective Discussion: ‘Gathering the Stories: Working together in the Word as Church’

​Anne Masters, M.A., Director of Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities for the Archdiocese of Newark where she works on structures of support at the parish level for the inclusion and participation of individuals with disabilities in the life of the Church. She is also a Fellow of American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) serves as the Past President of its Religion and Spirituality Division. She has contributed to the work of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), is currently on its Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and is a member of the Board of Directors for Friendship Ministries. Anne has worked in various areas of pastoral ministry as a lay ecclesial minister in the San Francisco Bay Area and northern New Jersey, and presents widely on inclusive catechetical and pastoral practices including interfaith collaboration. She is a PhD student in Theology at Vrei Amsterdam University. Her most recent publications are: Pastoral Ministry WITH Persons WITH Disabilities Parish Resource Guide available from Advocate Publishing Corporation and “Working With Catholics,” Learning to Lead, with Msgr. Richard Arnhols, M.Div. (SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2013).

 

Dr Miguel J Romero

Keynote Speaker: ‘When we see Servulus: Learning how to go on by looking to the Past’

​Romero’s research interests include moral theology, Catholic social teaching, disability, and the theology of Thomas Aquinas. His written work includes: “Liberation, Development, and Human Advancement in Caritas in Veritate” (Nova et Vetera, 2010); “Aquinas on the corporis infirmitas: Broken Flesh and the Grammar of Grace” in Disability in the Christian Tradition (Eerdmans, 2012); “The Call To Mercy: Veritatis Splendor and the Preferential Option for the Poor” (Nova et Vetera, 2013); and “Aquinas on Happiness and Those Who Lack the Use of Reason” (The Thomist, 2016).

 

Mr Mat Ray

Interactive Workshop: ‘A World of Gifts’ (with Ms Cristina Gangemi)  |  Interactive Discussion: ‘A Charter for the Church’ (with Ms Cristina Gangemi & Dr Zachariah Duke)

​Mat Ray works for Livability, a British disability and community engagement charity that traces its roots back over 170 years. With a background in communications and training, Mat is passionate about seeing churches become places of welcome and belonging for everyone in the community. As well as training on disability, Mat has produced church resources on dementia, mental health and wellbeing. Mat is a member of the Borough Common, an experimental emerging church in London.

 

Fr Alex Gowing-Cumber

Welcome and Introduction  |  Workshop: ‘What is good about being me?’

​Fr. Alex Gowing-Cumber is a self-supporting Anglican priest.  Alex is a life coach, Creative Therapist, Spiritual Director and an artist. His specialty is non-verbal communication and thrives when working with people on the autistic spectrum, those with Down’s syndrome and selective mutes. He has spastic paraplegia and is on the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum. Alex enjoys removing his hearing aids to celebrate the gift of silence.

 

Bishop Paul Hendricks

Closing Address

​The Right Reverend Paul Hendricks is an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Southwark. Born in Beckenham, Kent, Bishop Hendricks was ordained to the priesthood in 1984. He was ordained bishop on 14 February 2006. He worked for two years at the GEC Hirst Research Centre, Wembley before going to study for the priesthood at the English College, Rome, from 1979 to 1985.  He obtained a Licence in Philosophy from the Gregorian University, Rome.  In 1989 he was appointed Philosophy Lecturer and Bursar at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh. He is also the Diocesan Advisor on New Religious movements and Cults. Bishop Hendricks has responsibility for the South West pastoral area of the Diocese. He is a member of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Dialogue and Unity and holds the national responsibility for disability.

 

Poster Presentations

Ms Talitha Cooreman-Guittin 

‘What if Adam and Eve were disabled?’

Born in 1971 – Mother of three young adults; Full-time Youth Minister for the Archdiocese of Strasburg – France; PhD-student in Practical Theology at the University of Strasburg.  Thesis subject: “The perception of intellectual disability in the catechetical pedagogy of the Catholic Church.

 

Ms Adanna James

‘Who do you say I am?’

​Adanna James from Trinidad & Tobago is currently researching alternative ways to include persons with profound disabilities into theological anthropology, drawing closely from Christian medieval mysticism and the apophatic tradition as well as postcolonial studies. She has done prior work on this topic in her Master’s programme. She is presently collaborating with Bethesda a newly-formed group in her country to stimulate awareness about persons with disabilities and their families and to advocate for the adaptation of liturgies to accommodate such persons.

 

Ms Isabelle Bousquet

‘Spiritual support activities with disabled people enrich hermeneutic work’

​After theological studies in France and USA (Richmond), I had four years’ ministries for youth: General Secretary of the Scout movement “Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs Unionistes de France”; creation of material for Christian Education; trainer for laity and pastors. Since 2011, as pastor attached to the general management of the Foundation John BOST, I am in charge of supporting families, accompanying the directions of our houses in the development of spiritual accompaniment actions of residents, participating in changing the look of individuals and society on disabled people.

 

Dr Thomas Hentrich

‘ ‘EcumenAbility’: The Six Principles of Inclusion in Ecumenism’

​Thomas Hentrich received a Masters degree in Catholic Theology from the University of Bonn, Germany, holds a Ph.D. in Theology – Biblical Studies from the Université de Montréal, and spent two years as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Christian Studies at Kyoto University in Japan. He taught ‘Ancient Near Eastern Religions’ at McGill University in Montreal and ‘World Religions’ at George Brown College in Toronto. His past research focussed on retracing elements of the Canaanite Religion in the Old Testament. Most recently, he has researched the status of people with disabilities in the Bible. A strong believer in Christian unity, he is adding an ecumenical perspective dimension to this complex topic. Aside from his theological research, he supports adults with disabilities living in a residential setting in Toronto. For a list of publications, visit his personal webpage thomashentrich.cms4people.de.

 

Dr António Manuel Alves Martins

‘The blessing of the disabled people enlightened by the mystery of the Incarnation’ (with Ms Maria Isabel Mascarenhas do Vale)

​António Manuel Alves Martins, was born in 1963, Portugal. Catholic priest. Has a degree in Theology, Faculdade de Teologia da Universidade Católica FT-UCP (Faculty of Theology, Portuguese Catholic University FT-UCP) 1987; PhD in  Dogmathic Theology, Rome 2003, Faculty of Theology, Pontifícia Universidade Gregoriana,  thesis The body condition of the person. Study on theological anthropology by J. L. Ruiz de la Peña (1937-1996). Auxiliary Professor, FT-UCP, Lisbon, on Anthropologic Theology, field of study as of publishing; main research on the study of the body condition in the context of the Christian tradition as in the contemporary culture. 2009- 2014 held the position of Secretary of the FT-UCT. Membership of Centro de Estudos Religiões e Culturas (Center for the Studies of Religions and Cultures), FT-UCP.

 

Ms Maria Isabel Mascarenhas do Vale

‘The blessing of the disabled people enlightened by the mystery of the Incarnation’ (with Dr Antonio Manuel Alves Martins)

​Maria Isabel Vale, Degree, in Social work, (Superior Institute for Social Work, Lisbon) 1969; Director of the Pastoral Service of Disabled People from the Portuguese Bishops Conference 2010. 1970- 2009 Social Worker in the field of families with mental and sensorial disabled children 1999-2008 Held the position of teacher/lecturer in the degree on Social Work – Faculdade de Ciências Humanas, (Faculty for Human Sciences, UCP, Lisbon).

 

Mrs Janice L. Benton

‘Welcomed and Valued: The Spiritual Dimension of Building Community with People with Mental Illness’

Janice L. Benton, has over thirty-five years of experience in the field of ministry and advocacy for and with persons with disabilities after completing a B.A. in Human Development from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  She guides initiatives which promote participation of persons with disabilities in the U.S. Catholic Church and speaks throughout the U.S. and internationally. She has edited numerous publications and articles relating to disability ministry, including A Loving Justice: The Moral and Legal Responsibilities of the U.S. Catholic Church under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Welcomed and Valued: Building Faith Communities of Support and Hope with People with Mental Illness and Their Families.  She has also produced training videos on disability and on mental illness.  She consults with the U.S. Catholic bishops on life and disability issues and spoke at the November 2014 Vatican international symposium on autism.  In 2012, Ms. Benton received national awards from the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors and the National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order, USA.  She is a professed Secular Franciscan, wife, and mother of two adult children.

 

Sister Kathleen Schipani, IHM

‘The Transformation of Disability Ministry in the United States of America: Getting Beyond “Coulds” and “Shoulds” ‘

​Sister Kathleen Schipani, a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, has an M.ED. in Special Education from the College of New Jersey, a certificate in American Sign Language Studies from Gallaudet University and a B.A. in both Theology and English from Immaculata University.   She has 38 years of teaching experience with children and adults of all abilities.  For the past 28 years she has been a catechist for children and adults who are Deaf.  Sister Kathleen is the past president of the National Catholic Office for the Deaf. She has collaborated in national projects related to disabilities, presented workshops and trainings locally and nationally and co-authored Teacher Guides and DVD Curriculums to prepare individuals who are Deaf for the Sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Confirmation.

 

Mr James Martin Benton

‘Experiencing Belonging in a Welcoming Congregation: A Personal Journey’

​After graduating from Lumpkin School of Law, University of Georgia in 1972, worked for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in Washington DC.  Completed a six-month detail with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division preparing litigation involving enforcement responsibilities under a Federal statute that created and extended civil rights to people with disabilities.  Moved to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Service Office of Special Education Programs, monitoring the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Married to Janice Benton, Executive Director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), with two adult children.  Since retirement, devotes time as a potter at a local studio and volunteering with NCPD and other church-based ministries and civic organizations.