Parish Pastoral Assembly (report)
This appeared in the Herald of 13 Feb. 2011.
CITY PARISH FOCUS FOR 2011 – CHRIST CENTRED FAMILY
The Assembly began with Praise & Worship, followed by a scripture reading taken from Ephesian 4:4-16 which talks about being ‘One Body’ and the gifts of God to us. The questions that followed for silent reflection get the participants in the mood that since God has given them ‘gifts’, they should willingly use these gifts, and also help others to see how they can utilize the gifts. Coming together as ‘One Body’ to use these gifts for the betterment of the parish.
John Dass, the Parish Pastoral Council chairperson began the Assembly by welcoming everyone. First he mentioned that we were grateful to have a new parish priest – Fr Dominic Santhiyagu, and at the same time with former parish priest, Fr Michael Thoo, continuing to be assistant parish priest. He thanked both priests for being with the parish.
John then gave a brief run-down of what will be done at the Assembly. The usual evaluation and planning will be done. The evaluation was based on the SWOT method.
“We are here not only to access our weaknesses but to see how we can rectify our weaknesses. Then we will see how we can enhance our strengths.” he said.
The evaluation of last year’s two parish events (Closing of the Year of the Priest and Feast of the Assumption) were done by John, while Benedict Rayappan did the evaluation of the service groups (summarized).
Next up was the evaluation of BEC, presented by Chrstine Choong, BEC Coordinating Team chairperson. City Parish has only a total population of 640 persons, out of this, where there are 227 families.
The main problem in BEC, Christine revealed is that there is a lack of leaders in the core-team. Without leaders to motivate the parishioners, parishioners seems to be lackadaisical in coming together in their BEC groups.
“We hope, after the Assembly, you’ll be moved to volunteer as leaders.” Christine said. “We should commit ourselves to serve the church, with the gifts we have.”
She then reminded the people that BEC is not just for people to gather to do the reflection paper but BEC can improve our bonding as brothers and sisters of Christ, and this in turn, will make our parish a vibrant parish.
Br. Leo Elias, handled the next presentation on the situation of our parish in terms of population and statistical data like baptism and marriages. When he came to the part of dwindling parishioners, it generated interests from the participants to find out why the numbers of parishioners decreased. One of the main reason, as John Dass responded, was the moving out of residents in the city area, after the Rent Control Act was introduced.
Fr Dominic then took over to explain the eight steps in the planning process.
“It starts with the desire to do something.” He said “You sit down, and be silent for a moment and reflect. Then you get together and brain-storm and share ideas.”
He reminded the participants that when sharing ideas, they must remember to count the cost. By this, it doesn’t mean in monetary terms only but that to see the ideas they presented will be effective and the consequence of the ideas.
“Finally,” he continued, “you picked out your strengths last year and lay the foundation for your plans. Planning doesn’t stop after you complete your plans. Evaluation of what your plans – what you had done – should be consider as part of planning process too.”
Before the participants went into their group discussion, Fr Dominic explained on the Diocese’s theme and plans. He said that this year, we need to plan only one parish event and one BEC event, and the focus is on the family.
Fr Dominic also listed out ‘8 Priorities of the parish for years 2011 – 2013.’ He said that City Parish focus for this year is ‘Christ-centred family’ (John 15:1-5). With that in mind, the priorities listed were those that can improve and enhance the parish life of all parishioners as Christ-centred families.
The groups were asked to come out with values to instill to promote family events, to suggest one parish event and picked there top priorities for the parish. Most of the groups choose Family Outing or Family Talentime as the parish event.
After the groups presented their findings, Joyce Lee, PPC secretary summarized what they had presented. A consensus was then agreed upon to leave the choosing of one parish event based on the groups’ presentation to the Parish Pastoral Council.
– by Lucia Lai