lunedì 7 novembre 2011

That they may have life and have it abundantly

Salvatore Cimmino, Padre Raffaele Mandolesi e, il Vescovo Theophile Kaboy Ruboneka

First of all I want to express my joy and pride for being here among you and for the affection that, once again, you have chosen to show me. The support I receive around the world allows me to work with determination and enthusiasm. These moments of participation and sharing contribute greatly to building a society which is more aware, more alert, more sensitive and welcoming to people with disabilities.
I am deeply honored and excited to welcome here with us today Theophile Kaboy Ruboneka, Bishop of Goma, capital of North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
During the celebration that marked the transition to his pastoral leadership to the diocese, his introductory statement called for: “The North-Kivu ceases to be the province of war, sexual violence, shame, and becomes the granary of the Congo, of the Great Lakes, of all of Central Africa. He chose as his episcopal motto: “That they may have life and have it abundantly.” The great challenges of history can be overcome only with everyone’s commitment.
The importance of increasing and spreading the knowledge of the world of the so-called “poor” can enrich ourselves more than you can imagine. Interacting with the people of the South, with their cultures and their expectations, opens up an entire horizon of cultural wealth to us who have so many things. We understand now that it’s not what we own, but sharing it with other people, that gives us joy and meaning to our lives, often locked into individualism. The next step will be on the ground, and I chose the Democratic Republic of Congo because this country was affected by two “imported” wars that have caused the death of four million people, hundreds of thousands of mutilated victims, and an economic situation among the poorest and most unstable in the entire Earth. The proposed goal of this stage of my world tour is to improve the health of the disabled children and adolescents of Goma through care and assistance in rehabilitation, education and vocational training. It certainly is a very ambitious project, but nevertheless I will go forward with all my strength and humility, because it can happen.
It is a duty of the western world to improve and ensure excellent health conditions and care of children and adolescents with disabilities in the Goma center for the disabled. The Congolese public health system is now in extremely precarious conditions both in structural and financial terms and is not in a position to meet the need for prevention, care and treatment for the majority of the population. According to the World Bank, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 10% of the population has little or no access to health care and lives at a distance from existing structures which, in many cases, makes it extremely difficult to access the appropriate care and support. That’s why it is necessary and urgent to strengthen the intervention and support capabilities for children and adolescents with disabilities, in order to prevent their abandonment by family members. In fact one of the biggest problems is of a cultural nature: when a disabled child is born or becomes disabled at a later stage, the family hides or abandons him in shame.

Salvatore Cimmino, Michael Lenton, Vescovo Theophile Kaboy Ruboneka, Padre Raffaele Mandolesi e Suor Serena

Every disabled person deserves to receive the highest degree of respect and consideration, and is entitled to the full dignity of all human beings. Very often a person with a disability develops a richer humanity, a deeper awareness of himself and of the world around him and a more fair and appropriate attitude toward life. Ray Charles claimed that all things are given to us in order to transform them into something more valuable. He became blind as a child but this did not prevent him – on the contrary it even helped him – to become one of the greatest musicians ever. He said: the music is in my blood, but my energy and my joy were the instruments I played my wonderful life with. Ray was not an isolated case: many artists, scientists and politicians have lived and continue to live with disabilities which have not prevented them from realizing their dreams.
In the end, I make an appeal to those companies that operate in the world of health care and prosthetic rehabilitation, to make a step forward, to cooperate and to contribute to turning the painful lives of so many children and adolescents with disabilities of the prosthesis center in Goma, into lifes of joy.

Kia Ora

Salvatore Cimmino

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