SANDAKAN – Parish priest Fr David Garaman told the parish leaders in no uncertain terms that all were invited to go deeper into our relationship with the Eucharist so that we may be strengthened in our commitment; for as we become what we receive, we are “Christ” to one another until His Kingdom comes.
He said this to over a hundred participants gathered at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre for the 3rd Parish Pastoral Assembly (PPA) themed “Nurturing Active Church Participation with the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of Christian Life” Oct 19.
The theme was also the main pastoral thrust for the Diocese, which invites the diocese to reflect in and act to achieving the desired goal as a community to become truly a “Christ-centered Community Serving One Another with Love.”
He added, regardless of background and culture, all have a special place in the life of the Church, and commended the hard work of all in ensuring that the parish continues to be a visible sign of God’s presence in the world.
The last two Assemblies were confined to church leaders. This year, apart from lay leaders, other parishioners were also invited to participate in the Assembly. Also present were assistant parish priest Fr Christopher Ireneus, Franciscan Sisters and PPC chairman Pilis Malim.
Fr Ireneus facilitated a session on the spiritual connotation of the 1st mission goal, which is “to nurture active participation in the church with the Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian life.”
Malim presented the resolutions of the 2nd PPA and the findings of the just concluded survey on the implementation of the 1st mission goal.
Michael Ibau, acting chairman of the Parish Property and Maintenance Committee, presented a report on all projects carried out for the year for St Mary’s Cathedral, St Joseph’s Church, St Mark’s Church and St Peter’s Chapel, Sungai Manila.
Isaac Pang, chairman of the Parish Finance Committee together with treasurer Elaine Lim, briefed the Assembly the parish financial status for the period from January to September 2019. The Envelope Pledge System, initiated last December, has contributed much to the parish coffer.
Dalius Lobinjang, who acted as moderator for the group discussions, posed the question “How can we enhance our approach, as leaders and as parishioners, in realizing the mission of ‘nurturing active church participation’ towards achieving the diocesan vision?”
Among the well accepted responses were: Organize Training of Trainers; Leaders must be opened to new ideas; Leaders must not hold on to position for too long; Youths to be given the opportunity to hold leadership role; Leaders must adopt the attitude of being a servant leader; Leaders have no other option but to serve others; Parishioners need to have mutual understanding in building up the Kingdom of God; Parishioners need to be involved in ministries; Participate in church activities to instill in them the sense of belonging.
At the same Assembly, the proposed extension and upgrading of St Joseph’s Church, which will take off in November and expected to be completed before the end of next year, was officially launched by Bishop Julius Gitom. – Romeo Barintang @DOSPO