The Intercontinental Christian Brotherhood of People with Disabilities (Frater) is a Christian movement made up of, and managed by people with disabilities who have taken control of their lives, struggle to live in dignity, and accept to live together as brothers, in recognition of each another’s differences.
Frater welcomes everyone, without distinction, in a spirit of ecumenical and missionary openness. People without disabilities are also welcome to join Frater if they accept and embrace this message.
Legally speaking, Frater is an international, private, faith-based association under pontifical law, and a legal entity. Frater was canonically approved by the Pontifical Council of the Laity on 11 February 1995. Statutes were definitively adopted on 13 May, 2000.
OUR MISSION: FINDING NEW WAYS TO BE THERE FOR OTHERS
Throughout the world there are people who suffer from illness or disability and who live alone as a result of fear, complexes and low self-esteem. In most cases, it is also difficult for these people to find decent work or access public places, due to architectural barriers and their exclusion from society. This is a hidden but undeniable reality that must be dealt with.
Today’s medical expertise and technology can help prevent many deficiencies and disabilities, and help people overcome their condition and reduce the effects that a disability or illness has on their lives. Science can also provide ways for countries to eliminate the barriers that exclude so many people from society.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities shows that people with disabilities are not victims to be taken care of or cured, but individuals who want to have the same rights as everyone else.
Frater is a product of this reality but also aims to overcome it. The organization works towards establishing new interpersonal and community-based relationships (‘community living’) and is committed to building a new society based on respect for the dignity of every person living with a disability. Frater awakens people’s consciences and encourages them to take control of their lives. The organization also denounces exclusion. In this way, Frater promotes the Gospel of Christ: “Rise and walk with me”.
Frater has accepted the challenge launched by Pope John Paul II during the 2000 Jubilee when he stated that “the disabled are unique people in their inalienable dignity and equality, who need not only attention, but most of all love that transforms into recognition, respect and integration…Disability does not only imply need; it also means inspiration and stimulation. Of course having a disability means asking for help, but first and foremost, it means standing up to individual and collective egotisms. Disabilities are also an invitation to find new ways to be there for others.
These new ways of helping one another create a permanent and inclusive dialogue involving the whole community, without which all of humanity would be incomplete. At the same time, humanity makes this dialogue possible.
Frater is coordinated and run by teams of lay managers who have disabilities (mainly chronic illnesses and physical disabilities).
Frater cultivates a spirit of solidarity and sharing, guided by the ever-present illumination of the word of God, with the sacraments and fundamentally with the Eucharist, in which one can offer oneself and give the Author of Life.
Frater operates in a spirit of missionary and ecumenical openness and embraces the Universal Church of the world in all of its cultural diversity.
Frater receives spiritual inspiration both from the prelates and the spiritual advisors and assistants who actively participate in team activities in all parts of the movement. This allows lay members to fully assume their responsibilities in the Church and around the world.
Generally speaking, Frater helps people with disabilities or illnesses develop their full potential. The organization assists these individuals as they build a world in which people are respected with their differences, and with dignity. The Intercontinental Brotherhood:
Frater is brought to life through its leaders and teams; it is minimally structured at the local through to the international level.
Frater Intercontinental is made up of Continental Brotherhoods that are in turn part of affiliated National Brotherhoods. These are made up of the local and central teams within a country.
Frater Intercontinental is therefore a perfect context for mutual exchange between Continental and National Brotherhoods.
The Intercontinental Team is currently based in Spain.
The Intercontinental Team meets once a year
The Intercontinental Committee meets every four to five years
AFRICAN CONTINENTAL TEAM
African Continental Coordinator
Delegates from Apostolic Regions can also participate
The Continental Team meets once a year
The African Continental Assembly meets when material and human resources permit
EUROPEAN CONTINENTAL TEAM
European Continental Coordinator
The Continental Team meets twice a year (in autumn and spring)
The European Continental Assembly meets every two years
AMERICAN CONTINENTAL TEAM
American Continental Coordinator
Continental Advisor and Continental Deputy Advisor
Plus one coordinator per region
The American Continental Team meets once a year
The American Continental Assembly meets every four years
REGION I Coordinator (Central America and Caribbean)
REGION II Coordinator (Andean countries)
REGION III Coordinator (Brazil and Southern Cone)
REGIONAL assemblies are held every two years
Associate countries like Taiwan are invited to participate at Intercontinental Committee meetings.