More than 200 parishioners from both the English- and Mandarin-speaking communities representing BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) and parish ministries attended this year’s Parish Assembly (PA) convened by St Ignatius Church (SIC) on 15 November 2014. John Ooi (Vice-Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council) and Sebastian Yew acted as Joint Chairmen of the Assembly which was honoured by the presence of His Grace Archbishop Julian Leow – his first official event at SIC after being installed as the fourth Metropolitan Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur on 6 October 2014. Also in attendance were SIC Assistant Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong and Fr Clarence Dass (Director, Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute & Priest-in-Residence, Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).
The event started at 1.15 pm with praise & worship, Bible enthronement and an opening prayer. This was followed by SIC Parish Priest Fr Lucas Ng giving a welcoming address during which he revealed the theme for SIC parish in 2015 – To be a Worshipping, Welcoming & Caring Community. Fr Clarence then gave a presentation on the state of the BECs in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur and ways to increase attendance and participation in its activities. After the presentation, attendees formed groups to discuss issues and put forward possible solutions relating to BEC participation which were noted for further action.
After a short break, the Mandarin Apostolate gathered in another room to carry out their separate discussion. Alphonso Lourdesamy (Chairman, Parish Coordinating Council) presented a summarised report of the Parish Pastoral Plan of 2014. Erwin Ho (Chairman, Parish Pastoral Council) then gave a presentation on the Parish Pastoral Plan for 2015 with a focus on the following areas in line with the parish theme:
- # Worshipping Parish (Prayer & Sacramental Life)
- # Welcoming & Caring Parish (Family, Youth & Community)
- # Welcoming & Caring Parish (BECs)
The goals and rationale for each of the above focus areas were laid out and their desired outcomes stated.
The Parish Assembly agenda continued with the Parish Finance Report by Edward Sta Maria (Chairman, Parish Finance Committee) and a Question & Answer session. Matters raised regarding the report were clarified and noted. The moment many had waited for finally arrived when Archbishop Julian took centre stage to make some remarks. He started off by putting forward some questions: What is your dream for your church, BEC and country? Do we know where we want to go (our destination)? Do we care for the other (e.g. the stranger in our midst or newcomer to the church) as we strive to become a more caring community? His Grace Archbishop Julian also mentioned that not seeing or being aware of the lost, least, last or little amongst us does not mean they do not exist. In closing, he commended SIC for articulating a parish theme which emphasises worship, hospitality and care.
Fr Lucas in his final remarks thanked His Grace Archbishop Julian and Fr Clarence for their time and effort in imparting invaluable pastoral advice to parishioners for the coming year. The Parish Assembly ended at 5.15 pm with a closing prayer recited by all and a blessing from the Archbishop.
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Photography: Peter Law