St. Pius Catholic Parish Church of Blantyre Diocese has launched a sign language campaign as one of the means to ensure that the gospel is preached to the deaf and dumb.
Inspired by the prayer of a deaf person during 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia and the gospel in the Holy Bible, Parish Priest, Father George Ven Kaliati, explained that he heard the call for inclusiveness in the gospel hence he requested a few Christians to go for sign interpretation course.
“People of deaf and dumb need to be reached with the Gospel of the Lord God. We need to inclusively add them that every Sunday they are able to attend church services and be part of the Lord mercies,” he said on November 11 this year, during the launch of the campaign at the Parish.
Fr. Kaliati further said the parish had assigned a special service where sign language will be used, starting 9:30AM every Sunday, so that the deaf and dumb could be coming to listen to the word of God.
The Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA) has welcomed the development and described it as a good initiative which all churches need to adopt.
“This is inclusivity that we are looking for and we commend Fr. Kaliati and St. Pius Church members for such initiative, they have respected deaf people and its good news to us” said Malonje O Phiri, FEDOMA’s Project Coordinator for Inclusive.
He explained that persons with disabilities should be treated as equals with the able bodied, through ensuring that services and facilities accessed by the able are also given to the disabled.
“The church leadership should take a bit more commitment, and involve hiring or training Christian hearing signers who can interpret sermons, songs or Sunday classes at the church. It is important to note that the deaf have their own culture and as such, language interpretation alone is not adequate to carry out a comprehensive ministry. Therefore, it is important for hearing signers and deaf leaders to provide a church within a church, and reach the deaf within their own culture.
“Deaf people should not only be included in church, but should also be encouraged to develop their own distinctive understanding of Christian truth,” O-Phiri said.
Meanwhile, Fr. Kaliati has expressed that there will be some hurdles to complement the project as deaf people will really need to attend sacramental classes and confession. “It will be tough and we need resources for us Priest to learn sign language so that we understand them” Kaliati concluded.
The inaugural mass had three sign interpreters who covered the whole mass.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :