By Carmel Suart
Priests in all parishes, together with the members of their Parish Pastoral Councils (PPC) were invited come to Phase One of a newly developed four phase PPC formation course to explore more deeply the role of the PPC in the life of the Parish. The formation session was held in Bateman for the parishes in the southern region, Balcatta for the parishes in the northern region, and Kalamunda for parishes in the eastern region of the Archdiocese, with a total of 82 councillors and 15 parish priests attending, representing 38 parishes.
The aim of the session was for PPC
- To come to an understanding of the role of the Parish Pastoral Council in the life of the Parish
- To identify the nature, role, and key function of the Parish Pastoral Council.
- To become familiar with the content of Archdiocesan Constitution for Parish Pastoral Councils
- To understand the distinction between strategic and operational thinking
- To become familiar with the steps necessary for developing an effective Parish Pastoral Plan.
Participants prayed and worked together listening to each other’s wisdom. The session helped them clarify the role, responsibilities, and expectation of the PPC within the parish. One of the biggest learnings was the understanding that the PPC has a strategic focus, that is looks at the big picture of the needs of the parish and that the focus is on the pastoral activities that enhance parish life.
Participants came to an understanding that one way for parishes to do this successfully is by developing a Parish Pastoral Plan. Pastoral Planning gives clarity to the parish’s pastoral activities in both the short and long term. Participants heard that a Parish Pastoral Plan is not a document that is set in concrete. A successful plan is simply written for all to understand, and it is a living document which has the flexibility to change as the needs of the parish changes. Good practice is to keep the whole parish informed in the planning process so that they will be able to contribute to the delivery of the plan.
Participants were asked to go back to their parishes and make a start on developing a pastoral plan keeping in mind the principles that had been discussed. This will be supported by follow up visits by the Team. To ensure that an adequate support structure is available a field officer, Richard Win Pe, has been employed for one day a week to assist parishes.
By the end of the day, participants came to an understanding that the PPC working together with the parish priest has the single purpose of ensuring that the parish community, from among which they are called, has every possible opportunity to carry forward the mission of Jesus Christ.
If your parish missed out on attending the day, there will be a repeat session on Saturday 14 August at the L J Goody Bioethics Centre in Glendalough. Please check the website for further information.