On Wednesday, Catholics with disabilities presented a report to Pope Francis for the Synod on Synodality. A total of 35 individuals who identify as having a disability from 20 different countries and 5 different continents participated in an online listening session in May, and their reports were compiled. 

Catholics with Disabilities Presented Reports for Synod on Synodality

Giulia Cirillo, a wheelchair-using Italian woman, personally delivered the report from people with disabilities to Pope Francis following his public audience on Sept. 21 in St. Peter's Square. When asked why she was so grateful to Pope Francis, Cirillo told CNA, because he offered all of them the opportunity to speak, that is, including those who live personally with disabilities. 

Meanwhile, Father Justin Glyn, a Jesuit priest from Australia, believes that the most important message, which he thinks is being received at this time, is that people with disabilities are in fact full members of the Church, according to the National Catholic Register

According to Father Glyn, who is blind, there is a tradition in the Catholic church of viewing individuals with disabilities as recipients of charity and objects of pity.

Father Glyn shared that his time in the church had been mixed, but that he now sees his disability as an asset. He mentioned the issue of clericalism, noting that the temptation towards clericalism is less strong if priests are aware of their own vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and the need for the assistance of others.

As per the report, Sister Marie Claire Rolland, a religious woman from France who was born with Down syndrome, took part in both the listening session and the writing of the synthesis. Rolland blessed Pope Francis by making the sign of the cross on his forehead after she had given him a hug.

Pope Francis is the third pope that Rolland has met during her lifetime.

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Synod on Synodality Renews Churches in America

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared on Monday, Sept 19 that the synod on synodality dialogue process has prompted a renewal at the local and universal levels of the Church, and that parish and diocesan consultation and discernment gatherings should continue.

As revealed by The Pillar, according to the USCCB's "national synthesis," released on September 19, the synod's spiritual talks and dialogues have rekindled a sense of mutual love and duty for the benefit of the Church-in their parishes, their dioceses, and their country.

The report also claimed that the USCCB released the text of the "national synthesis" for the Church's worldwide consultation process. 

According to the text, Catholics have requested that the Church open its doors wider, better prepare its members for mission work, and keep holding meetings to hear the concerns of both active and disaffected members of the faith in local churches across the United States.

However, as the two-year synod process moves into its "continental phase," there are still issues over the participation rate of Catholics in a process that aims for spiritual discernment on the Church's life and vocation.

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