“Our Lenten theme Ignite Hope, is a call to be…
KOTA KINABALU – Around 30 members of the Sacred Heart and Church of Mary Immaculate pastoral councils met to discuss viable ways to tackle PAX and parish concerns on 15 Aug 2016 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.
After the opening prayer by Abp John Wong, the chairman of the committee of PAX for Parish Level, Dr Jeffrey Soon, briefed the members, there being several new members, on the role and functions of a parish pastoral council. He stressed on a councillor’s function to assist the parish priest and his assistants to carry out pastoral activities towards the attainment of the archdiocesan vision and mission in the parish.
Soon said that when one is a councillor, one has to look beyond one’s particular group or ministry to the spiritual needs of the parish as a whole. As such, each councillor has to become interested in the three critical concerns identified at the 2015 PAX Assembly: Islamisation, secularisation and apathy, and the three areas of concern identified by the parish itself in 2000: catechetical formation, youth and outreach to uninvolved parishioners.
In the July 22 meeting, the committee found out that many groups/ministries did not really understand what was required of them. The parish is also divided by three languages (Chinese, English and BM) with the three critical concerns affecting each group differently: Chinese (apathy), English (secularisation) and BM (Islamisation).
Time was given to those present to share their thoughts as to what can be done to meet these challenges. Some felt that in order to tackle the challenges one must be brought to a personal encounter with Jesus from the very outset, for example, through the Life in the Spirit Seminar, pre-nuptial catechesis, Sunday School, etc.
It was generally felt that this meeting was, as it turned out, a sharing of thoughts on what the possibilities are in tackling the issues. Further discernment is needed for some concrete actions to be carried out in the near future.
Before the meeting ended, the PAX for Parish Level Committee was dissolved by Abp Wong as it was formed only to help the PPC (it was formed before the 2015-2018 PPC was established).
The PPC has to take up the task of seeing the Pastoral Thrust of “going inward, going smaller and going outwards” as its main pastoral activity. It has also to help create awareness of the three main issues at the grassroot level or “reverse direction,” that is, for the PPC to go down to the groups/ministries so that it is aware of their problems, what they are doing and what sort of help they need. This will begin with the PPC members themselves, then to the group leaders, then to the groups, and to the 70 percent uninvolved parishioners.