SANDAKAN – Sandakan Diocese organised a two-day pastoral plan study on its diocesan vision and mission on 11-12 Feb 2018.
Seventy participants comprising clergy, religious sisters, seminarians and lay leaders from St Mary Cathedral Sandakan, Holy Trinity Tawau, St Dominic Lahad Datu, St Martin Telupid, Our Lady of Fatima Beluran, and Paitan Mission attended the event at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre here.
In his welcoming address, Bishop Julius Gitom remarked that the attendance showed the commitment of the participants to realise the diocesan vision and mission. He expressed his hope that what they have learnt in the two days will be disseminated to all the group leaders in their respective parishes.
The bishop also informed the gathering that the diocesan vision and mission statement was presented to Pope Francis during the ad limina visit on Feb 8.
He said the pope was pleased with it and hoped it will be put into practice.
In fact, the pope had said, “When we pray and act upon it, we are actually revealing the face of Jesus.”
The Sandakan Diocese has adopted their vision as a “Christ-centered community, serving one another with love” to be realised through the following six mission goals:
1. to nurture active church participantion
2. to foster a spirit of unity
3. to intensify faith formation
4. to enhance living the gospel values
5. to promote vocations
6. to foster family values.
The objective of the Study Day is to understand that the Diocesan Pastoral Plan is a tool to help parishes focus on its priorities.
Five sessions were held covering the background and history of the vision/mission statement (Francis Tan), formulation process (Pilis Malim), Way Forward (Sr Maria Dipal rgs), organisational structure, roles and functions (Anna Amandus), pre-implementation and leading role matrix (Fr David Garaman), and documentation of programme implementation, stewardship role, monitoring and evaluation (Eva Siruno).
Each session was followed by parish group discussion based on the questionnaire given which was later presented to the floor.
Mass was celebrated before the final session.
In his closing remarks, the bishop said he was pleased with the active participation of the members. He exhorted them not to worry unduly over its implementation but to rely on the strength of God.
“What is important is that we must first be transformed in our mind, heart, and soul in our spiritual journey. We might not see the fruit of our vision and mission but we have at least planted the spiritual seed and prepared the foundation for others to build on,” the bishop said.