Parish leaders and communities are invited to register now for the Leadership Conference hosted by The Catholic Religious Education Institute (CREDI) and The Office of Pastoral Planning and Development (OPPD).
This conference will be held at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 (Indian Arrival Day) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost $300 per person. REGISTER HERE
This year’s conference features Fr Peter Mc Isaac SJ, Regional Superior of the Jesuits in Guyana and Jamaica, and Fr Jason Boatswain, Principal of the Seminary of St John Vianney and Uganda Martyrs, who will explore Leadership and Discernment.
At the heart of both the Synod Process and Synodality itself is the embrace of God’s invitation to the Church’s ongoing pastoral conversion. This kind of conversion affects every aspect of faithful’s life and mission as disciples of Jesus: it affects how faithful understand themselves as companions of Jesus on a mission and how they gather as the mystical body, how they make decisions as a community, and how they exercise their leadership with compassion and gratitude.
According to CREDI, to open oneself to this personal and communal transformation, “it is vital that we can discern the signs of the times, as well as discern the presence of God among us and within us.”
In the first part of the day together, the speakers will look at some of the fundamental principles of discernment, how it is important to the Church’s Synod Process and to faithful’s conversion to a Synodal Church.
In the second part of the day, the speakers will facilitate a practical process that will lead participants to integrate the fundamental principles of discernment towards compassionate leadership that embraces both the personal and communal dimensions of decision-making leading to a Church that goes out from itself and draws close to the People of God.
About the speakers:
Fr Jason Boatswain, who hails from Sangre Grande, was ordained a priest 13 years ago, May 30, 2009. After 13 years of priesthood, Fr Jason comes with a wealth of experience spiritual, pastoral, and academic.
His first six years after priesthood were spent at the Gregorian University completing his doctoral studies in Systematic and Dogmatic theology. His “test” as a priest came when he was appointed as the Pastor of the Church of the Incarnation in Maloney.
There he was “Put out into deep pastoral waters” where he quickly learnt the art of pastoral leadership as one rooted and grounded in prayer and discernment.
As the Director for the Formation of the Permanent Diaconate, he would adopt this method of personal and communal discernment in choosing, forming, and shaping men for diaconal ministry as permanent deacons.
Fr Jason believes that the landscape of today’s pastoral context can become very challenging because the temptation is that pastoral leaders can be enticed to be relevant by abandoning some core principles of the faith or too conservative for fear of losing Catholic identity and tradition.
What Fr Jason shares is that it is not about pleasing either group, or anyone’s hidden agenda, but seeing where the Holy Spirit is leading the Church and the respective ministries to which one belongs. In one sense this is what discernment means.
Fr Jason emphasised a synodal Church, as Pope Francis envisages, places greater responsibility on pastoral agents to listen collaboratively as the entire people of God, “from the bishop to the least of the faithful,” to make pastoral decisions in keeping with the will of God.
He shares that even in his more administrative positions as Vice-Rector and Principal of the Seminary, disposing himself daily to the discipline of prayerful listening, frequent conversations and reflective study sharpened his spiritual senses to better decision-making.
“I strongly recommend that you register for this conference so that you will be empowered with the tools and skills necessary to lead your ministries in a synodal church,” Fr Jason said.
Fr Peter McIsaac SJ was born in Canada and entered the Society of Jesus in 1989. He was assigned to Jamaica (1992 – 1994) for a two-year pastoral placement, and then on to Nairobi, Kenya, for theological Studies (1994 – 1997). He was ordained to the priesthood in 1998.
Fr McIsaac returned to Jamaica in 1999, where he worked in a variety of capacities: social ministries, pastor (10 years), theology lecturer (UWI Mona), Director of St Michael’s Theological College, and Director of the Diaconate Programme. He was Board Chair for five schools in Kingston and was chair of the Archdiocesan Education Board.
He was appointed Regional Superior of Jamaica from 2006 – 2012, during which time he also served two years as President of the Conference of Religious of the Antilles and became a citizen of Jamaica in 2008. In 2020, he was appointed as Regional Superior of Guyana-Jamaica.
Fr McIsaac has for many years directed retreats, facilitated discernment processes, and offered spirituality workshops across the Caribbean, in North and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.
In the last three years, he has devoted much of his attention on various programmes of spiritual formation in Trinidad (for clergy and laity): conference retreats at Emmaus in Arima; and individually directed retreats in Blanchisseuse. His training and formation programmes are focused on the skills and gifts of discernment.
Fr McIsaac notes at the centre of the Church’s current preparations for the Synod, and its hope to become a Synodal Church, is one’s discernment of the presence of God (in personal prayer, as well as in one’s communities) and an openness to God’s transformative love.
This awareness of God, Fr McIsaac underscores, “allows us to see ourselves, one another, and creation in a new way.” In a very simple and profound way, this new awareness is what one calls “conversion,” and it calls all to personal, communal, pastoral, and social transformation.
“God is at work within us and among us. This is our starting point in faith that gives us hope and deepens us in love. It is the heart of discernment,” Fr McIsaac said.
By Kaelanne Jordan