KOTA KINABALU – Twenty-seven pastoral leaders of Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here and its subparish of Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang held an inaugural special meeting to tackle pastoral concerns on 20 July 2017 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre.
In attendance were Archbishop John Wong and his three assistants, Fathers Max Hontor, Mitchelly Kiun and Joshua Liew.
Chaired by Bernard Liew, the meeting was the outcome of the mini-PAX held last year on June 25 wherein below 50 percent of the total number of 65 committees, groups, and ministries presented their reports.
Although it has been on the agenda of several meetings of the respective pastoral councils, the critical concerns discerned at the 2015 PAX Assembly – Islamisation, secularisation and apathy – were not given their due weight.
It was pointed out some groups have done something individually but it was never a consolidated effort at the parish level.
Earlier this year, the parish has organised a seminar on understanding Islam in three languages and has created a special column on understanding the Catholic Faith in its parish bulletin.
One of the areas to be looked into would be to have a full-time catechist overseeing the formation and training of voluntary faith formators/catechists.
Another area would be the training for taman coordinators or leaders.
Since the strength of the parish lies in its numerous groups, this should be maximised in reaching out at the grass-root level (the 70 percent uninvolved).
In his remarks, Abp Wong said he was happy with the attendance of the councillors of both churches and their contributions to ways of tackling the pressing concerns. He said he was consoled that the councillors are beginning to see the larger picture at parish-level.
The prelate ended his remarks urging all to bring the concerns and their solutions to the Lord in prayer. He also encouraged them not to give up and to work as a team.
The participants agreed to the suggestion to alternate their respective monthly meetings (reports) with the joint tackling of the issues. However, the joint meeting should be preceded by a period of reflection so that they could seek the Lord’s mind first before coming together for discussion.