The Diocese of Novaliches’ Pastoral Outreach for the Welfare and Resources of Persons with Disabilities (NPOWRD) conducted a series of seminars to enlighten participating Vicariate and Parish representatives on the role of the Church and its Pastoral Care for Persons With Disabilities (PWD) last July 9 and 23, 2016 at the Chancery Office in Fairview Park, Q.C.
Aptly entitled Together To Get There, NPOWRD Director Rev. Fr. Nonnette C. Legaspi, STL said the activity addresses the urgent need to fully integrate the PWDs in the life of the Church. He said, “By doing so, this will empower them to be active, productive, self-reliant and fulfilled members of God’s community.”
NPOWRD Lay Coordinator Josephine Barbin cited Pope Francis’ indiction of the Jubilee Year of Mercy on the timeliness of the activity since it is “an appropriate time to put our PWD brethren in full inclusion in the Church and in our society.”
“The seminar,” according to Barbin, “aims to create awareness in the Diocese about our brothers and sisters with disabilities and…to encourage them to actively participate in the Church’s activities.”
“This is also in preparation for NPOWRD’s vision to form a PWD Ministry in all the 68 parishes and 11 vicariates of the Diocese,” she added.
To achieve this, Barbin explained that, “The volunteer participants should be made aware of the many roles and responsibilities the NPOWRD ministry has in going about its mission and this includes providing spiritual, religious, moral and values formation as well as offering skills training to prospective caregivers and catechists.”
A total of 30 volunteer participants from 13 parishes have attended the seminar to date. More seminars are scheduled to cover the attendance of the Diocese’s total vicariates and parishes.
With regards to the programme, the seminar started with a brief backgrounder by Barbin on NPOWRD and its pastoral programs and activities. Several speakers also shared their expertise such as University of the Philippines’ Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Rehabilitation Department Psychologist Patricia Medina who gave an overview on the different disabilities; Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)’s Teresita Brazil who discussed the concept of volunteerism; and Fr. Legaspi who talked about the spirituality of the PWDs and their role as members of the Catholic Church.
A fitting ending to the day-long activity was applying what the participants learned by drafting a Parish Action Plan that would lead to the formation of an NPOWRD Ministry in their respective parishes and/or vicariates. The plans are subject to the approval of their respective Parish Priests.
Together To Get There is scheduled to be conducted on August 13 at the Mary The Queen Parish for the Vicariates of St. Peter, Sto. Nino, and Our Lady of Lourdes. A Team Building Activity will follow upon the completion of the seminar series. Barbin called this culminating activity as some sort of a Kumustahan to follow up on the results of the Action Plan. (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)