December 3 is a day for raising awareness of, and helping to create real opportunities for, people living with disabilities. This year’s theme is: Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. Unfortunately, in many places in the world people with disabilities are shunned and excluded from participating in civil society. Even when not overtly shunned, those who are physically limited often face barriers to their participation. Society limits itself whenever any member of society cannot participate to his or her fullest potential. This day calls all of us to listen to persons with disabilities, to see what limits them and how we can improve their participation. People with disabilities face negative stereotypes, difficulty communicating, and physical, social and other barriers that prevent them from learning, living, working, and playing in their communities. Together, we can create inclusive communities where people with disabilities can be healthy and lead full, active lives.

God, we thank you for health, life and love. We know that while each of us has limitations, some people with physical disabilities struggle daily to participate in even the ordinary activities of life. Help each of us to listen to our disabled brothers and sisters, so that we can all become more aware of their needs. Open our heart to respond generously so that we can remove barriers to participation whenever we become aware of them. Bless us with growth in awareness so that we can all work together for the common good. (Shared by Sr. Beatrice Hernandez).