|Fr Thomas in his welcoming speech|
Sandakan : The former Parish Pastoral Council of St Mary’s Cathedral Parish having served its two-year term (2009-2011) was officially dissolved on 31st May 2011. A week before its dissolution, a meeting was convened to analyze and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
|Fr Philip and Fr Thomas (seated 3rd and 4th left respectively) with potential candidates of the incoming PPC|
Of the forty members, selected through a discernment process from nominations presented by various groups, ministries, BECs and the parish at large, eighteen responded and attended the briefing session yesterday 16th June 2011 in the Catechetical Room. The process provides an opportune occasion for the parish to identify potential leaders to offer their service, each in their own gifted way and each in their particular condition.
Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector spoke of shared responsibility in ways by which lay faithful participate in the Church’s mission. Council members, as ‘smart partners’ representing the laity in the parish have a major role in decision making together with the pastor to chart the course of the pastoral direction of the parish. For that to happen, council members need to look at the Church from a wider perspective. They need to discern on God’s will, investigate the issue evolve in response to the parish reality, ponder on it prayerfully and draw conclusions from it before presenting it to the pastor. He also touched on the hierarchy of the Church.
Fr Philip Muji, the assistant rector talked on ‘The way we serve in the Church’ by portraying the image of a Good Shepherd as in John 10 : 11, ‘I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep’. From John 13 verses 3 -5, Jesus washes the disciple’s feet as a servant he elaborated the characteristics of being a servant leader in the context of the Church, serving with a compassionate heart, much humility, honesty, commitment, and truthfulness. All these will only be possible if we continue to grow in holiness through prayer cultivating an intimate relationship with the Lord.
Michael Lee, Chairman of the then Parish Council of St Mary’s Church for six years in the 90’s shared on the importance of teamwork in its effort in renewing the parish. Christian life is something that requires team work as in 1COR12 : 4-6, ‘There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.’
The final session on the mission of the Church, roles, purposes and functions of the Parish Pastoral Council was presented by Francis Tan of the Diocesan Pastoral Office.
Participants were asked to reflect on ‘ Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God’ Matt 6 : 33 to remember always the source, without which we are nothing and can do nothing. They spend some quiet moments, listening to their inner voices before they commit to serve in His vineyard.