Disabled people in Bogor diocese of Indonesia's West Java have welcomed efforts to redress past neglect of their spiritual and practical needs. On Dec. 3, coinciding with the International Day of Disabled Persons, the diocese held a special Mass attended by hundreds of disabled faithful. A commitment was given to render greater assistance to them. Franciscan Bishop Paskalis Bruno Syukur said that, among other things, special catechists would be provided to teach Catholic subjects to the disabled. The diocese will also hold retreats for those who care for the disabled, including parents. Bishop Syukur added that twice a month the proceedings of Masses would be communicated to the deaf through sign language. "We recognize that they need to be embraced
, addressed as an integral part of the Church," the bishop said. "We want to follow Jesus who taught us not to discriminate, let alone marginalize them." Ignatius Harjanjam, a blind person from the Blessed Virgin Mary Bogor Cathedral Parish, welcomed the steps being taken. "We have felt that the Church neglected us," the 43-year-old single man told ucanews.com. He said that he knew many disabled persons who were confused over how to participate in spiritual activities, including deaf people who wanted to make confession. However, now he felt the church was doing more to recognize diversity in its community. Kelemensia Sheny Chaniaraga, coordinator of Kompak, a group that assists disabled people, welcomed Bogor diocese’s commitment to people who had long been ignored. Past neglect
had resulted in the souls of disabled people suffering amid a descent into pessimism, she added.