European Disabilities Congress

Invitation to  Bavaria/Germany

At the initiative of the European Commission of the General Curia, the St John of God Order  invited its staff working in the field  of assistance to persons with disabilities to a three-day congress from 26-28 June in  Straubing, Bavaria, Germany.

 Theme of the Congress

Article 3 of the General Principles of the 2008 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that, “The principles of the present Convention shall be...full and effective participation in society...“

Partecipation shall therefore be the theme of the European Congress which the Fatebenefratelli are organizing for their co-workers working in the sector of disabilities in order to promote an exchange of knowledge and experiences.

 Principal contents of the Congress

After the opening seremony, when the Centres of the Provinces taking part willl have the chance to  introduce themselves, Prof  Theresia Degener, the German Representative with the UN Committee  on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will deliver an opening address in which she will try to answer the question: “Why do we need a UN Convention for people with disabilities?”

The President of the European Comission for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, Johan Ten Geuzendam, will describe the repercussions of the United Nations Convention on EU Member Countries. 

Prof. Monika Seifert, President of the German Pedagogical Society, will describe the impact of the UN Convention on the offer of housing and on the forms of housing in our centres for the disabled while Herr Günter Mosen, President of the German Federal Association of Workshops for Adapted Work for persons with disabilities will examine the effects of the Convention on the offer of employment and work for the disabled.

The effects of the United Nations Convention on politics and society will be considered by Ms Barbara Stamm, President of the Bavarian Regional Council and of Bavaria's “Lebenshilfe” Association. Also of certain interest are the effects of the United Nations Convention on the facilitation of religious and spiritual life in our centres for persons with disabilities, a theme to be examined by Ms. Dr. Simone Bell-D'Avis, Theologian and Head of the Office of Pastoral Care for disabled persons of the German Bishops' Conference.

After the reports , to be translated simultaneously into various languages, participants from all  countries attending  will have an opportunity to discuss the in an open-space forum.


European "Fair of Possibilities"

In parallel with the Congress, a sort of European shop window will take place, i.e., a “fair of possibilities” in which all the Order's participating Centres will have the chance to present their own activities and their European initiatives to date, and to exchange information and experiences.

Apart from theoretical content the Congress also aims to provide an opportunity to learn about developments in the disabilities sector in the various European countries, to examine possible new approaches and to examine projects aimed at eventually establishing a network of the St. John of God Centres for the disabled in Europe.


Cultural events

Obviously the Congress will, apart from the working sessions, provide opportunities for delegates to meet and get to know each other during various cultural events. These will include a reception hosted by the Mayor of the city of together with a cultural event of major importance, a European evening with music, dances, an international buffet and lively pauses between one performance and the other. In summary: the central objective of the Congress' organizers will be to give people the opportunity of seeing the “European Community of St John of God” in action, with special emphasis on the disabilities sector. 

Common liturgy

A great common Eucharist presided by the Bishop of the Diocese of Regensburg will enable participants to experience and appreciate the St. John of God community of faith in a European dimension.



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