To the extent that people with disabilities are "welcomed, loved, included in the community and accompanied to look to the future with confidence," a true path of life develops and "lasting happiness is experienced."
This goes for everyone, but even more so the most fragile, he said, adding that faith is "a great companion" which allows these people to feel God's presence closely, no matter their condition.
Francis said that as far as the Church goes, she cannot be "voiceless" or "out of tune" in the defense and promotion of people with disabilities.
"Her closeness to families helps them to overcome the loneliness which they often risk closing themselves into due to a lack of attention and support," he said, adding that to have this closeness is even more important for those who form others in the Christian life.
Neither words nor gestures can be missing for "the encounter and welcome of people with disabilities," especially in the liturgy, he said, because this encounter with the Lord and the community is a source of "hope and courage" on a path that isn't easy.
Catechesis, then, "is called to discover and experience coherent forms so that each person, with their gifts, their limits and their disabilities, even serious ones, is able to encounter Jesus on their path and abandon themselves to him in faith."
"No physical or psychological limit can ever be an impediment to this encounter, because the face of Christ is shown in the intimacy of every person," the Pope said, stressing that everyone, but especially ministers of the Church, must be careful "not to fall into the neo-pelagian error of not recognizing the need for the strength of grace which comes from the Sacraments of Christian initiation."
The Church and her ministers must learn to "intelligently 'invent' adequate instruments" of catechesis to ensure that no one lacks "the support of grace," he said.
Catechists must be formed, "first of all by example," who are "increasingly able to accompany these people so that they grow in faith and give their genuine and unique contribution to the Church," he said.
Pope Francis closed his address voicing hope that within the Christian community, people with disabilities can themselves increasingly "be catechists, even with their testimony, to transmit the faith in a more effective way."
Though his speech was little over 10 minutes long, the Pope stayed with the group for more than an hour, personally shaking hands with participants.
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