BUNDU TUHAN – Around 200 delegates across the archdiocese gathered to refocus on the Diocesan Vision-Mission on 13-16 June 2018 at the retreat centre here.
This was the second assembly convoked by Archbishop John Wong. The first was in November 2015.
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 assembly has three objectives: (a) to share what has been done since PAX 2015; (b) to refocus on the Diocesan Vision-Mission; and (c) to carry on the Pastoral Thrust in the context of the Diocesan Vision-Mission.
It began with dinner fellowship on June 13 followed by a roll call/ice-breaker and opening remarks by Abp Wong. The next day focused on listening to five cluster consolidated reports gathered from the pre-PAX gathering on May 1.
After lunch, the assembly listened to the reports from the nine commissions. Each report session was followed by a plenary session (Q&A).
On the second full day, the morning was taken up by nine people – priests, religious, lay – sharing on how the vision-mission has touched their lives personally and in ministry.
In the afternoon, Father Wilfred Atin summarised the questions and recommendations brought up during the pre-PAX gathering under the following headings: 1) more in number & competent/proactive priests; 2) formation – regular programme of training in different fields; more and better trained pastoral and administrative agents; 3) visit and formation to the parishes; 4) media & IT facilities, physical amenities; 5) financial aid – and how to move forward in the context of the vision-mission.
All that was discussed was brought to the Lord in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament after dinner. The participants had also the opportunity to go for confession.
Before the delegates returned home, Dominic Lim recapitulated the flow of the past days and they were invited to put on the mind of the Church through Pope Francis’ encyclical on the call to holiness in today’s world (Gaudete et exultate) presented by Abp Wong.
Before the dismissal of the closing Mass, Abp Wong and Father Nicholas Stephen unfurled the buntings depicting the Vision and Mission to mark their relaunching followed by the presentation of the two buntings to the representatives of the 19 parishes.