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Christmas Rally Attracts the Victorian Deaf Community Far and Wide
A gathering from the deaf community and their families came from far and wide around Victoria to attend a special Christmas Mass Rally at the
John Pierce Centre (JPC)
in Armadale earlier this month. The occasion began with a morning Mass given in Auslan and spoken English by Fr. John Hill who is a member of the Redemptorist Missionary Order. Fr John has been chaplain at JPC since 2000 and throughout the duration of the Mass used his skills in sign language while the Homily was interpreted.
‘I think what’s special about signing the Mass is that it’s more involving for me, instead of just saying words. Because you have to use your body all the time and your body has to be in sync with what your signing. When we get together and sign, there’s something of the presence of God there,’ he explained.
‘The thing about deaf people is that their perception of the world is basically visual. So, we try to put a visual focus on Mass and we’re very lucky in the Catholic tradition because we decorate churches, we use colours, we wear vestments…so we just try to enhance that for the deaf community.’
The entire service was also communicated via a three-way interpreting system by the team at JPC including Communications Coordinator Melissa Smith.
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