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Come, journey together with my church

KOTA KINABALU – If number is anything to go by, the attendance of over 400 participants at the recent PPC Formation should be a sign worth watching.

They are the newly formed pastoral council/committee members to whom, by virtue of their appointment, Jesus has issued an invitation “Come and journey together with my Church”.

How does one respond to such a “royal” command, given unpretentiously by Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church?

For the leaders, it is a tall order. They must first know and understand their role, hence the formation program.  They must plumb the pastoral direction before they can lead others towards their destined goal.

It became clear, then, from the input on the Council’s Role, PPC’s function is consultative. The pastor consults his councilors because he seeks their wisdom.  Parishioners often can see things that the pastor cannot see. By consulting them, he benefits from their knowledge, discernment and insight.

Through their membership on the pastoral council/committee, parishioners participate in the apostolate of the pastor, by investigating some aspect of the parish reality, reflecting on it, and recommending to him their recommendations.

The parishes must therefore have greater discernment in identifying and selecting candidates to this important role of a councilor.

The formation program for pastoral leaders across the 19 parishes of KK Archdiocese was called for by the Head of the Archdiocese, Archbishop John Wong on Nov 6. The one-day program was held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre. Also present at the event was a score of priests and religious.

For a people to know the “Where, When, Why and How“to journey together towards the same goal and destination, they need a shared vision. Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people get out of hand; happy are they who keep the law.

Leaders and people must realize and accept that the Church comprises of both saints and sinners who need the Mercy of God; that the Church is the Bride of Christ who is faithful to her Spouse and Doctrines; and who can face all kinds of struggles, challenges, difficulties and persecutions because she knows that Christ is with her.

The life of the Church must be able to reflect in not being afraid to eat and drink with sinners, in not being afraid/ashamed of brothers and sisters who have fallen, and who has her door always open wide to welcome every person.

Do we see the present Church standing on these “pillars”? The concept of “a caring communion of Christ-centred communities” encapsulated in the Archdiocesan Vision is therefore easy to talk about, but not easy to live.

We become a Christ-centred community when we bring about the presence of Jesus Christ among us.  We do it by journeying together as laity, religious, deacons, priests and bishops. The call is towards community, not as individual. Communion needs time for it to become deep and matured. However, there is no real communion without communication, and communion cannot exist without participation.

Therefore, as baptized people, ordinary or leader, we are called to live holiness, evangelization, and the building of God’s Kingdom among us, thereby fulfilling the Church’s mission, and God’s vision for His people, here and now on earth. – CS

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