Under the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars
Enabling people with intellectual disabilities to lead full and valued lives
The joy of friendship is something we often take for granted. Yet life without friends would be a very different experience for most of us. It is through our relationships with others that we learn, grow and find happiness.
A person with intellectual disability, however, will often find it hard to form relationships. Consequently they do not have the same opportunities to grow and develop. Through the Personal Advocacy program, people with intellectual disabilities are linked on a one-to-one basis with volunteers recruited from the parish community. Together they become part of a small group.
In time, a friendly relationship develops as each person learns to trust the other. They come to know and understand what it means to love and to be loved, to give and to receive, to forgive and to be forgiven. They are then able to experience more fully what a relationship with God is like.
This is faith in action!
A typical group will consist of:
• A Group Leader
• An Activities Leader
• 6 volunteers from the parish
• 6 people with disability.
Four Personal Advocacy groups meet regularly in a specially-adapted centre within the Morley Parish. These groups provide opportunities for people with an intellectual disability from Morley and the surrounding parishes to form connections and participate more fully in the life of the Church and local community.
As a model for the Archdiocese of Perth, Infant Jesus Parish hosts an adapted liturgy on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 9.30 am. The adaptations to the Mass ensure it is less wordy and more interactive in order to assist people with intellectual disabilities to become engaged in what is happening within the liturgy.
The adaptations are all within the liturgical guidelines and include movement to interpret the readings, movement to the Responsorial Psalm and a simple homily. The people with disability carry out valued roles within this regular parish liturgy, with support from their parish advocate. After Mass, everyone enjoys morning tea and fellowship together in the parish hall. Everyone is welcome to come along!
New volunteers are always needed in the program. Our friends with disability come into the program and remain for as long as they wish to participate – sometimes for life! If the volunteer advocate with whom they are linked needs to move on for some reason, then another person is needed to take their place.
If you would like to explore this ministry further, please contact:
Personal Advocacy Service
28 Holdhurst Way, Morley
Ph: 9275 5388
An agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth