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Families with Disabilities:
Recipients or Agents of the New Evangelization?

ANNUAL PYNE MEMORIAL PRESENTATION

April 11, 2014
Presenter: Margaret E. Guider, O.S.F., with Maria Cataldo-Cunniff


Sr. Meg Guider examines theological themes, questions, and issues that are common to families with disabilities.  Mindful of the recent synod on the New Evangelization and the upcoming synods on the family, she explores the interactive dynamics of families with disabilities and their relationships with communities of faith.  When it comes to the evangelizing mission of the Church, is there anything genuinely new that “families with disabilities” are receiving?  When it comes to Christian witness, in what ways do these families serve as agents of evangelization in the Church as well as the broader society?  This presentation underscores the fact that any effort to answer these two questions must begin by being attentive to the origin and nature of the specific disabilities that inform and influence these families, as well as their implications across the lifespan. 

Conscious of the family dynamics of resiliency and fragility, Sr. Guider maintains a realism of the here and now as well as memory and vision of past and future, orienting families with disabilities in their journey of composing and re-composing faith, hope, and love. 

Maria Cataldo-Cunniff also gives voice to the topic from her own lived experience and personal perspective.

Margaret E. Guider, O.S.F., is STM associate professor of missiology.  She speaks from the perspective of a member of a family with disabilities, as well as that of having served in leadership with her community of Franciscan sisters, many of whom live with a variety of late onset disabilities.

Maria Cataldo-Cunniff is a board-certified chaplain and holds a Master's in Theological Studies from Weston Jesuit School of Theology.  Formerly she served as chaplain at Children's Hospital in Boston.  She speaks from the perspective of a person with disabilities who grew up in a large family of origin, and as a wife and mother of two young children. 

Sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry
and generously supported by the Pyne Endowment Trust,
in memory of Professor Margaret E. Pyne,
a lifelong advocate for persons with disabilities

Part 1: Families with Disabilities

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Part 2: Families with Disabilities

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