Northampton Cathedral welcomed many people, young and old with disabilities and learning needs and those who care for them for the annual Mass for those with Disabilities. The Mass and following social is always a joyful occasion for all who attend.

Canon Kevin O’Driscoll, gave the homily and he encouraged everyone to be a “witness to Christ”, pointing out that those present who are carers are witnesses to Christ in the most unglamorous ways.

Telling the story of when Pope John Paul II came to Britain, Canon Kevin quoted the homily he gave at Southwark Cathedral:

“Today I make an urgent plea to this nation. Do not neglect your sick and elderly. Do not turn away from the handicapped and the dying. Do not push them to the margins of society. For, if you do, you will fail to understand that they represent an important truth. The sick, the elderly, the handicapped and the dying teach us that weakness is a creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in your midst you might be tempted to think of health, strength and power as the only important values to be pursued in life. But the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share his sufferings.

Let us keep the sick and the handicapped at the centre of our lives. Let us treasure them and recognize with gratitude the debt we owe them. We begin by imagining that we are giving to them; we end by realizing that they have enriched us.

May God bless and comfort all who suffer. And may Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world and healer of the sick, make his light shine through human weakness as a beacon for us and for all mankind. Amen.”

The next Mass for those with disabilities and their carers will be held at St Martin De Porres in Luton on 5 November.