The pastoral call to serve

Rudy Jerome Mallannao reflects on workshops offering insights and inspirations for pastoral councils in the archdiocese

This short reflection was written by Rudy Jerome Mallannao, who is currently serving the archdiocese as a pastoral intern and discerning the diocesan priesthood for our archdiocese. He is currently working with the archdiocese’s Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, who are hosting a series pastoral workshops and retreats across the region this winter.

As the winter season marches on, the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis is also on the march with its plans. Just in the month of November, Deanery 1 (McLennan) and Deanery 2 (Peace River) held their Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Workshops.

Our main goals for conducting these workshops were, first, to form and strengthen the parishes’ capabilities and its operation as a living faith community that offers evangelization and catechesis, in congruence with the archdiocesan pastoral plan. Secondly, these workshops were to provide support to the local pastoral councils in strengthening their abilities and willingness for service. We will continue these workshops after Christmas, and the PPC Workshops for Deaneries 3, 4 and 5 are scheduled to take place in the new year.

Fr. Emmanuel Ekanem and Sr. Connie Harkin speak on the theme of faith formation during a pastoral workshop for Deanery 1, held at the St. John the Baptist Cathedral in McLennan on Nov. 12th.

The workshop outlines the Parish Pastoral Council’s call to service. What they have is not a job but a vocation. The PPC’s role today has a great impact on catechesis and evangelization. With this idea are also some practical strategies on how to improve pastoral planning. These includes focusing on the key areas of the parish namely: Hospitality, Finance, Promotion, Catechesis, Evangelization and following the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan.

The support that came from the parish priests and their pastoral councils was remarkable, despite the weather not being favorable for both PPC workshops. One cannot be but moved in reading the comments of some of the participants. Comments like: “We have to think more of our mission,” “I didn’t notice the value and effect of the PPC in the faith journey of my co-parishioners until now” and “We cannot change the church alone; however, we can do it together as one archdiocese.” These inspired and empowered us to work harder. We have witnessed the zeal and perseverance of the parish councils with their parish priests in furthering the faith of their parishioners. We are moving as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, striving to move towards God through faith and works as one ekklesia.

In November and December, the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis hosted parish pastoral workshops and Advent retreats in McLennan, High Level, High Prairie, Manning and Peace River.