Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, marked today’s 7th World Autism Day, expressing his closeness with people who suffer from autism and their families.
“We draw near to these families and this in particular is directed towards ensuring that hope is not extinguished in them, providing support so that they do not feel lost or in a state of crisis as regards their relationships at the level of emotions or as relatives,” he wrote in a statement released today.
The Polish prelate highlighted the difficulties those with autism face in communicating with those around them. Archbishop Zimowski also stressed that a “pathway of integration within the community” must be followed in order break down the barriers caused by autism spectrum disorders.
“This can also take place with the support of social commitment and with synergic actions in the fields of care, information, communication and formation, thereby fostering a move to true understanding and acceptance of this illness which never denies or undermines the dignity with which every person is clothed,” he wrote.
In doing so, he continued, a solid foundation of cooperation and solidarity can be established that “isolates neither people with autism nor their families.”
The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry also took the occasion to announce that the council’s 29th International Conference will be focused on autism. The conference, which will be held Nov. 20-22, will have the theme: “Autism, an Illness with Many Faces: Generating Hope.”
Researchers, experts and health care workers will address the education and social integration of those who suffer from autism spectrum disorders in what the archbishop described as a “moment of dialogue and commitment.”
Concluding his message, Archbishop Zimoski expressed his hope that the closeness of the Church to those with autism and their families will strengthen them in occasions of discouragement.
“Making myself from this moment a spokesman of this solidarity and entrusting you to the Mother of believers, who with an unshakeable faith stayed in front of the Cross, to everyone, and especially to people with autism and their families, I express my wishes for all good and joy in the Risen Lord,” he concluded. (J.A.E.)
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of Archbishop Zimowski’s message: