In early 2007 the Parish Advocacy Network for the Diocese of
Richmond was developed in response to the challenge articulated by the American
Bishops. Moving beyond ‘sloganeering’, the diocese developed a recruitment and
training strategy designed to create a network of parish-based advocates for the
disabled. This pastoral initiative focused on new ways for communities to minister to each other, heightening parish awareness of those with special needs, and integrating three key components: the accessibility to participation in our shared Christian life,
the authenticity of this ministry to the disabled rooted in the Eucharist, and the
accuracy of witness that results from combining religious conviction with evidence
and reasoned argument.
To further encourage and support the inclusion of persons with
disabilities as well as to recognize the gifts and talents of the men and women who
advocate for them, parishes throughout the Richmond diocese joined together in
celebrating Inclusion Sunday on June 15, 2008. One parish within the Richmond
diocese, Our Lady of Nazareth Church, planned and implemented this Sunday
community celebration, and in the process developed a template of shared Christian
living for every Sunday...indeed, for every day.