On November 11, the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (CHS) held the Parish Pastoral Assembly 2018 at the Dewan Holy Spirit. The Assembly was preceded by the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in church.
The CHS Parish has come a long way since the Synod at Bukit Mertajam and the PMPC IV at Plentong in 2016. Study days and formation programmes were held before and after the CHS Parish Pastoral Assembly 2017 to keep track of the pulse of the parish and to discern what the Holy Spirit was saying to the Church. More parishioners have come to understand the Vision and Mission of CHS as well as the Diocese.
During the 2018 Parish Assembly, Fr Francis Anthony, the Assistant parish priest, spoke of the Missionary Journey, saying that we are an Exodus Church on the move, all the time developing and expanding. Her direction depends on each one of us. We walk together, in whatever roles we play in our ministries, as we proclaim Jesus and carry out His mission. Our community living is based on the teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread and prayer. We seek to be disciples of hope. We have to discern and be a creative, inclusive and bridge-building church that is visionary and missionary. The joys, anxieties and hopes of this world are the joys, anxieties and hopes of the church.
Formation leads to transformation and we become the transformers. We make Christ present in the world. We look into the past, reflect and then set the direction ahead. We are gifted with talents. We offer our 5 loaves and 2 fish and God multiplies them. Though we are diverse in age, race and habits, we are united in Christ. Our mission is to offer bread to others. In conclusion, Fr Francis said that the year 2019 is an Extraordinary Mission Year and we have to be outward looking, as the salt and light of the earth.
The address and report by the PPC Chairman, Pedro Geronimo, who was away, was read by Marcel Augustin, the PPC Vice Chairman. Acknowledging God’s faithful presence throughout the year, Pedro welcomed everyone to come onboard and take ownership of CHS, ensuring that there will be many opportunities to participate in various programmes during the Journey Towards the Golden Jubilee to draw everyone towards Jesus. Pedro traced the events during the last one year, month by month.
Following this, Iruthaya Das, the PAT Chairman, read out the evaluations by the relevant ministries that had been carried out immediately after each event had been celebrated.
Referring to the reports from the PPC and the PAT, Fr Joachim Robert, the Parish Priest, said that there was indication that we are moving in the right direction. We are getting close to the CHS Golden Jubilee.
In the life of the church, as well as in the Scripture, a jubilee year has a deep history and significance. It is a time to restore equality among the children of Israel, offering new possibilities to families that had lost property and personal freedom. It is an opportunity for us also to look at our own journey of striving towards unity in diversity. We see Jesus walking together with us in our journey, just as he walked with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We then ask God to enable us to recognise the vision he has for us.
Then let us move back to Jerusalem and be revitalised.
We must also look at different ways of doing things. This will challenge us to move out of our comfort zone to where God wants us to go. As we strive towards unity in diversity, we need to look with a renewed vision, enthusiasm and perspective of life.
A few of the major events planned till 2019 end are:
— Outreach programme in conjunction with the World Day of the Poor in November 2018, to be followed by a Christmas party in December
— In March 2019 there will be 50 outreach activities, whereby we share Christ with others
— CHS Golden Jubilee will be celebrated during Pentecost, the Parish Feast Day, in 2019
— There will be another Harmony Walk at the close of the Golden Jubilee celebrations
— Since the Pope has declared a Year of Mission starting from October 2018, pilgrimages will be organised to St Francis Xavier’s Church and Assumption Church in Petaling Jaya.
Fr Joachim concluded by saying that the vision of CHS Parish and that of the Penang Diocese appeared to be going in the same direction. The Parish will continue into 2019 with the same theme, Unity in Diversity, striving to be creative, inclusive and bridge-building during the Year of Mission.
The last session of the Assembly was devoted to questions and answers. The main issue of contention was the absence of youth in most BEC activities, while they are active at the parish and diocesan levels.
Today’s youth face many challenges and they are often misunderstood. Some of them are working and studying and they are occupied most of the time. Thus there has to be dialogue among the relevant quarters. Currently some steps are being considered to address the issue, replied Fr Joachim.
Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online