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TANJUNG ARU – Archbishop John Wong launched the newly-formulated Vision and Mission of Stella Maris Parish during his pastoral visit to the parish on 28 Jan 2018.
Teresa Alberto, Parish Pastoral Council chairperson, said the parish saw the need for a change, in particular, to walk towards the same vision of the archdiocese.
She quoted Father Peter Abas, assistant rector, who spearheaded the process for “a need to be a vibrant church, to be a more family-oriented church, prayerful and faithful parishioners.”
It is summed up in their Vision Statement: A Christ-centred parish family journeying together – strengthened by the Holy Spirit and empowered by the Word of God in creating an evangelising community.
“We are adjusting to the new vision and mission. It has been calm here where we have been serving and celebrating according to the Church’s (calendar) with the fatherly and protective figures of our priests. Then comes this ‘storm of change’ which sets the parish on fire, moving it towards a direction,” said Alberto.
She added that the vision and mission have given them the energy to unite with confidence and zeal as one parish family walking in line with the archdiocesan vision and mission.
“Our ministry groups are excited, it moves our youth – they too are excited, we have programmes for the elderly to appreciate them better, renewal of marriage vows where we learn deeper about marriage,” she said, among others.
The formulating process started in August 2017 until January this year with a representation of all ministries and parish priests.
Alberto said this newly-formulated vision and mission would be communicated throughout the parish through their catechists.
Abp Wong said he was happy that they have a common direction with the archdiocese, and commended them for emphasising their vision on family and on being Christ-centred.
He remarked that many families (nowadays) are not Christ-centred so it is good to have such a vision. I hope with the formulation of the Vision and Mission and with the help of your patroness, Our Lady Star of the Sea, you will get closer to God and deepen your faith to resist all (temptations).”
The prelate also expressed his hope that the vision and mission will help them to grow closer to God and deepen their faith to resist all temptations through the help of Mary, Star of the Sea.
“I hope you will grow not only as individual parish family but also as one big diocesan family,” said the archbishop as he blessed the newly-installed Shrine of Our Lady outside the church after reciting the Vision prayer with the faithful.
Stella Maris is the fourth parish to formulate a parish vision and mission statement after Sacred Heart Cathedral, St John Tuaran, and Holy Nativity Terawi, since the promulgation of the Diocesan Organisational Pastoral Plan (DOPP) in 1997.
While it is not an obligation to have one, the archbishop encourages all parishes to have their own vision and mission statement in line with the archdiocesan vision.
Earlier during the BM Mass, the archbishop confirmed 62 young people. He advised the confirmands that it was not the end of their faith journey, and queried them on what they will do to keep the faith.
To that, Ezra Daniel, 17, said he wants to do corporal works of mercy; helping the elderly, being involved in the church such as ‘gotong-royong,’ among others.
The prelate encouraged them to join one or two ministries in the parish and said “I support you one hundred percent to join the Bible sharing class,” which engages young confirmands with class-based sharing coupled with outdoor activities. – Linda Edward