MUNTINLUPA City, Sept. 13, 2016 – More than 500 people joined the 4th Pilgrimage for Persons with Intellectual Disability with Jesus and Mary at St. James the Greater Parish in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa on Sept. 10.
There were 200 persons with disabilities (PWDs) and some 300 family members, guardians, friends, and supporters were at the event, said Mabel Vicaldo, a volunteer from Let the (Special) Children Come to Me & All the Kids Welcome Center.
The pilgrims came from different parishes and organizations in Metro Manila, she added.
“We started with persons with intellectual disability, but we have members today with multiple disabilities like hearing and visual impairment,” Vicaldo noted. “[The center is] open to all persons with disabilities.”
According to Fr. Charlton Viray, SdC superior, the Servants of Charity have been joining the pilgrimage for the past three years.
“Part of our ministry is caring for persons with physical and intellectual disabilities,” he said. “We are very much involved in the like activities.”
The Servants of Charity offers special education in the form of different therapies for persons with disabilities, like physical therapy and lessons for the hearing impaired, at its center in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, said Viray.
PWDs, a gift
“Persons with disabilities are a gift,” said Bella Feliciano, a volunteer at St. James the Greater Parish. “They have needs that must be met with compassion, but they have gifts to share with humanity.”
“God loves the persons with disabilities,” stressed Viray. “The Church also loves them.”
This year’s pilgrimage gathered PWDs for prayer and artwork workshops like painting, coloring, and folding/cutting and pasting.
Other activities that enlivened the annual gathering included miming of the Gospel and singing of Mass and jubilee songs.
Viray thanked the PWDs for the love they give and the things they have taught them in return. (Oliver Samson / CBCPNews)