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PAX Assembly 2015 to brace up Archdiocese

A section of those who attend the briefing in preparation for the PAX Assembly.
A section of those who attend the briefing in preparation for the PAX Assembly.

KOTA KINABALU – After a hiatus of five years, the faithful of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese will gather once more to meet and discuss pertinent issues affecting their lives.  It will be held on 8-11 Nov 2015 at Pace Bene FSIC Formation Centre, Papar.  Around 230 delegates comprising clergy, religious and lay leaders from 19 parishes are expected to take part.  This will be the first assembly convoked by Archbishop John Wong since he took over the helm from his predecessor, Abp Emeritus John Lee.

The PAX Assembly has been synonymous to the Church in Kota Kinabalu since 1971 when it was called by Bishop Peter Chung, then Apostolic Vicar.  The word PAX is an abbreviation of the Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church in Sabah.  In Latin it means PEACE.  Since its inception, it has been a forum to deliberate and study matters related to pastoral issues brought up by parishes and PAX commissions.  Since 1979, annual themes were introduced to regulate the assemblies.  However, in 1997, after the launching of the Diocesan Vision and Mission, the annual themes were no longer used.  Instead the assembly has become a forum for common discernment, with the Diocesan Vision and Mission as guide.The term “PAX Assembly” is retained to show continuity and for nostalgic reason.  It is now officially called in Malay, Perhimpunan Pastoral Keuskupan Agung.

The coming assembly has three objectives: (a) to strengthen our communion as a diocesan community; (b) to heighten awareness on the critical issues affecting the Local Church; and (c) to present the Pastoral Thrust as our way to help our communities to face the identified issues.

It will begin with dinner fellowship on Nov 8 whereby short video clips will be shown to recall our journey as Church from a prefecture to an archdiocese.  The next day will focus on listening to reports on the findings of the parish consultations followed by small group sharing.  The concerns and anxieties generated will be brought before the Lord in prayer.  Inputs will be given on the third day to help the delegates to understand the critical issues better from a faith perspective. This will be followed by the presentation of the Pastoral Thrust, spelling out our response to the current situations.  Before the delegates return home, they will be invited to put on the mind of the Church through Pope Francis’ encyclical Joy of the Gospel presented by the Apostolic Nuncio, Abp Joseph Marino.

In preparing for the assembly, the organising committee proposed the setting up of three resource teams to assist in the formulation of the Pastoral Thrust.  Archbishop Wong has also sent out a circular to urge the faithful to pray for the fruitfulness of the assembly in all weekend Masses and services in October.  It is hoped that the delegates will return home as catalysts for their parishes in addressing the concerns of the Local Church. – Organising Secretary.


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