The widespread failure to use sign language in the various communications media marginalises and excludes deaf people for accessing all types of information, denying them the opportunity to integrate fully into the social fabric. The commitment made by the Pope John XXIII Community to spread Jesus’ evangelical message to people with hearing difficulties and to their family and to listen to their principal problems led, in 2008, to the setting up of the Service for the Pastoral care of Deaf People and their Families.
The aim of the service is to promote, safeguard and guarantee people with hearing difficulties equal human rights and basic freedoms. We support compliance with international regulations that safeguard their dignity, their linguistic and cultural rights and access to all types of information.
The commitment of the Service for the Pastoral care of Deaf People and their Families is as follows.
- Within ecclesiastical context, to make celebration of the Eucharist and all areas of the spiritual life more accessible with the use of sign language, in order to increase deaf people’s sense of belonging to the Church and their understanding of Jesus’ evangelical message.
- In institutional settings, to ensure that sign language is recognised and used in the various channels of communication.
- Within the community, to develop a supporting, welcoming presence in the various areas in which the Community operates, working alongside deaf people and their families. Again working with them, launching initiatives and courses for their full integration into the local areas in which they live. Raising awareness within our Community to ensure that we are the first to make available training and audio-visual
- Establishing a meaningful relationship of support with deaf people and their families
- Raising awareness of and training and educating society in the culture of diversity and of inclusion in order the break down the barriers that hinder the full integration of people with hearing difficulties.
- Supporting the welcoming of deaf people into Community homes and centres
- Interpreting the Holy Mass in Italian Sign Language, particularly during readings of the liturgy and Catechism.
- Planning the production of teaching/learning materials in an accessible, multi-media format.
- Organising training course, seminars and discussion groups to raise awareness of the culture and identify of the deaf and Italian sign language.
- Italian sign language interpreting in public meetings and events of particular social, political and ecclesiastical relevance.
- Working in partnership with ecclesiastical and public-sector entities and cooperatives, creating synergy in order to overcome the marginalisation of people with hearing difficulties.
- Taking part in working groups to formulate draft legislation to overcome the barriers that create marginalisation, for example the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability in Chile and San Marino.