22 August 2018
World Meeting of Families

Kearney (L’Arche), “People with special needs are a resource, fostering relationships with them”

“When they are given the opportunity to speak and are included in the conversation, people with special needs have the ability to contribute in meaningful and inspiring ways.” This was said by Tim Kearney, a member of the international community “L’Arche,” who spoke this morning during the panel discussion on Families and Parish; Supporting Families with Special Needs, at the World Meeting of Families being held in Dublin. Kearney shared, in light of his experience, three insights: “People with intellectual disabilities need a relationship and friendship that is as significant as care, if not more so.” Accordingly, to develop their potential for personal growth, “they need an environment in which their gifts can be made known.” “Rather than being a burden for society,” recalled the Community’s delegate, “people with intellectual disabilities have an important contribution to make to society and to the Church, by sharing the wealth of their friendship, their abilities, and their gifts of the heart”. It is, therefore, “important” for people with special needs “to foster and experience friendship and meaningful relationships within a vast network of people, within the family but also beyond the family, in their neighborhood, and in their parish community.”