|Southern Vicariate report on first pastoral priority – Jul 24|
With the Archdiocese shifting gears and changing the focus to Catholic Culture and Identity, the second pastoral priority, it is important to reflect on what was accomplished during the period of focus on the first priority, namely, the New Evangelisation. From this we can not only see what has been accomplished but also learn from best practices, mistakes and build on all of the work that has been done before to move forward.
The period of the first Pastoral Priority in the Southern Vicariate was marked by mixed successes in the various parishes. Overall more than 75% of projects were completed and the 12 Point Plan success rate was close to 90%. Parishes remarked at the end of the period that there was definitely renewed respect for family life, an awareness of the need for families to be together and families got more involved in church life as a unit. Generally the feeling was that there was a reawakening of the presence of the RC Church in the various communities.
The period began with much excitement as “New Evangelisation” and “Catholic Family” became watch words, but the reality of the enormity of the task at hand soon begun to take its toll. Some projects were a bit overambitious and the newly formed Parish Implementation Teams (PITs) struggled to maintain momentum. Among the major challenges parishes faced were:
To counteract these challenges, at the parish level invariably the coordination of activities were taken up by the established groups in the parish that were naturally aligned to the Pastoral Priority i.e. Family Life, Men’s Groups and Youth Groups. . At the vicariate level, the Vicariate Pastoral Council became effectively the working arm of the Vicariate Implementation Team. Parishes also expressed a dire need for leadership training for groups and difficulty in measuring the impact of Synod on family life in the parish.
It was generally felt that the courses in ALPHA, Catholicism201 and Common Sense Parenting were instrumental in developing the faith and provided an excellent foundation for applied Catholicism. While traditional liturgy remained strong, there seemed to be a renewal in outreach programmes again influenced by the pastoral priorities. The focus on the family projected to parishioners the crying need for healing in families in the country.
THE MAIN LEARNINGS ABOUT PASTORAL PLANNING
ABOUT EVANGELIsING THE FAMILY
Many evangelizers missed the “New’ part of New Evangelization and continued with traditional evangelization, therefore, the message did not always get through.
Groups commented that there was, at some points, hesitancy among Catholics in approaching lapsed Catholics. Sensitization was needed in how to evangelize friends and family without sounding condemnatory or having a ‘better than thou’ attitude, not everyone was prepared to communicate effectively. Many grew in confidence later on when they realized that the lapsed Catholics were very welcoming and were grateful for the New Evangelization.
Personality and ego problems sometimes arose. Some groups experienced a shifting of responsibilities when roles were not clearly defined this created further ambiguity about responsibilities.
The most successful groups followed a meaningful structure. Meetings had clear agendas and invariably finished on time. In these groups the interest level was maintained.
THE BEST PRACTICES
• Parishes where pastors supporting projects showed higher success rates
• Create excitement about the projects (banners, connection between homily and projects, reward systems.)
• Share responsibilities but monitor well.
• Recognise individual strengths and weaknesses, assign them to roles they are effective at to maximise productivity.
• Communication – Use parish newsletters creatively, parish websites & e-newsletters
SAMPLE OF HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help – Prison Ministry adoption of two families of prisoners
Pointe-à-Pierre – Languages of Love Seminar
Mon Repos – Theology of the Family Workshops, Movie Night
La Romaine – Aerobics classes for Seniors, Health Fair. Movie Night
La Brea – Shut-in programme, supervised work for youths on probation.
Penal – Training workshop for women in pastry-making.
Princes Town – Billings method workshops, pre-marital preparation
Oropouche – Family counselling, men’s Bible reflection series, outreach evangelisation.
Rio Claro – Home visitations and the completion of the census
Erin – Built home for the homeless, formed Women’s Action Group, youth mission to Grenada
Moruga – re-establishment of youth groups in communities, evangelising lapsed Catholics
|Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2011 15:57|