Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: Catholic University launches inclusive collection on the Bible for children

Bringing closer and promoting the spiritual life of those people who have a cognitive disability and difficulty in accessing reading is the objective of the collection “The Bible says …” , an initiative of a group of academics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, whose launch will be this Thursday, June 24.

It is a project in which Macarena Lizama, Roberto Onell and Guillermo Rosas participated, as well as the differential educator Andrea Lisboa, which highlights the importance of promoting the spiritual life of people with cognitive disabilities and that, in their self-determination process, decide on your life of faith.

“The main motivation is to bring evangelization closer to groups that have constantly been left out, behind, in second place. Many times it is seen as that they are little angels, so if they understand or not it does not matter. And in reality, they themselves have shown us that they make decisions and to make them they have to get closer to the Church, to its history, to the story of Jesus, and with it, to be able to participate in conversations and discussions around the subject, ”he says Macarena Lizama, academic at the Faculty of Medicine, director of the UC Down Syndrome Center and one of the authors of the project.

“The main motivation is to bring evangelization closer to groups that have constantly been left out, behind, in second place” – Macarena Lizama, UC Down Syndrome Center.

Likewise, he highlights, “from the point of view of rights, we have to take responsibility for people with disabilities to exercise their rights today. And one of your rights is access to information ” .

In this sense, Guillermo Rosas SS.CC, from the UC Faculty of Theology and also a participant in the project, says that with this initiative the Bible is “made available to everyone, taking special care of those who, due to involuntary limitations, cannot read it without help”.

“The importance of the project and the collection is to contribute to closing the gaps of exclusion with respect to the biblical message; the contribution, to be conceived and built according to the specificity and complexity of the recipients ”, points out Roberto Onell, participating member of the project and academic of the UC Faculty of Letters.

Questioned by reality
“The project was born from a continuation of an initial project that was to develop material for First Communion and Confirmation for inclusive groups where people with intellectual disabilities participate. Based on this, (…) we proposed in the Pastoral contest this system of adapting the biblical stories to an easy-to-read format, ”says Macarena Lizama.

In a collaborative way and with a team made up of professionals from the UC Down Syndrome Center and teachers from the Faculty of Medicine, Letters and Theology, six biblical stories were chosen (3 from the Old Testament and 3 from the New Testament). Each of them was adapted into three levels of complexity, always seeking to preserve the essence of the original content and the teachings that each text delivers from the Catholic faith.

Subsequently, the content was diagrammed and designed in written text format, considering guidelines of the Easy Reading strategy and the process of curricular adaptation for people with cognitive disabilities, by a differential educator and graphic designer.

Finally, six biblical accounts were obtained: “The creation”, “Moses and the flight from Egypt”, “Noah’s ark”, “The birth of Jesus”, “The multiplication of the loaves”, “Passion and death of Jesus ”.

Faith-reason dialogue
This initiative is the result of a winning project of the XV Research and Creation Contest for Academics, organized by the Directorate of Pastoral and Christian Culture and the Vice-rectory for Research of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile , in 2017, which seeks to respond to the evangelizing mission of the UC.

The Director of Academics at Pastoral UC ―area on which the Research and Creation Contest for Academics depends―, Nicolás García, says that “in each of the research projects we seek and foster dialogue between Faith and reason, with the manifestation of a strong public commitment and an authentic search for the truths behind the great challenges of our time. As inclusion is one of the strategic axes of the Pastoral development plan, we see that this project exemplifies what integration is and in particular the service to the people who need it most from the message of the Gospel ”.

“In each of the research projects we seek and encourage dialogue between Faith and reason, with the manifestation of a strong public commitment and an authentic search for the truths behind the great challenges of our time” – Nicolás García , Director of Academics Pastoral UC

For this reason, García highlights, “the launch of this collection, I believe that the development of this inclusive Pastoral that we want to work on can also greatly influence. We are very happy to support this project from the Research Contest for academics ”.


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