CEBU City, Jan. 25, 2016 –“Proclaim the Good News. Use words when necessary,” runs a quoted attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.
But in the case of Filipino and foreign volunteers interpreting for aurally challenged delegates to the ongoing 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu City, not even verbal language was needed: They let their hands do what their mouths and tongues can’t.
Terry O’Meara, an interpreter for the International Catholic Foundation of the Service of Deaf Person (ICF), pointed out the hearing-impaired persons ICF caters to are now able to go out and be agents for Christ.
“…This is empowering them to be missionaries themselves so I am thrilled for that opportunity,” she explained.
“It’s the most beautiful part about being here with the deaf community. to allow deaf people that wish to be part of this not only to participate, but to be agents of that catechesis,” she explained.
Inspiring, joyful experience
“Unbelievably beautiful. Very inspiring and so joyful. It’s a great privilege to be here. It’s wonderful,” exclaimed O’Meara after leading co-interpreters from the ICF as they translated the words of the Mass presided over by IEC Committee President Archbishop Piero Marini Monday into sign language,
According to the Washington native, serving the deaf community through a deaf track workshop is the “most beautiful part of the IEC.”
‘Fullness of life’
Proof of O’Meara’s dedication is the fact that she has been doing this for some 30 years now.
Her movement, ICF, is a “communion of people from various countries united by Holy Spirit out of the conviction that hearing impaired individuals are “called to the fullness of life in the Church.”
It aims to push for the religious formation and pastoral care of, with, and by deaf people within the Catholic community.
The foundation, moreover, offers supports to chaplains, pastoral workers, and catechists, and seeks ways to share the wealth of their vocation with other members of Christ’s Body and society to achieve a fuller expression of Eucharistic communion. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)