Moving towards A Diocesan Pastoral Council
Bishop of the Diocese of St George’s-in-Grenada Clyde Martin Harvey has described the first meeting of Diocesan Pastoral leaders as the process of moving from one understanding of the church to another, while encouraging the church to be open to the process.
The meeting set the pace for the thought-provoking process of generating suggestions on how the Diocesan Pastoral Council should function and who should serve on it.
The Council, once established, will be charged with nine main areas of responsibility including working in partnership with the Bishop of the Diocese of St George’s-in-Grenada so that pastoral activity can serve more effectively, the mission of the church and meet the needs of the people, as well as identifying the challenges and needs of the Diocese which the Council considers to be of pastoral urgency, and subsequently making the appropriate recommendations to the bishop.
Bishop Harvey in pointing out how the council is expected to function highlighted a few challenges and lessons to be learnt stemming from the experience and exposure of the Covid 19 pandemic.
In his presentation Bishop Harvey also reflected on the basic principles of Christian witnessing which should encompass the work of individuals and Parish Councils. “The first thing I want to suggest, is that we have to become serious about our spirituality. This is not about simply, whether I feel holy, or whether I am going to Mass every Sunday and so on. It is about the kind of relationship that I have with the Lord. ‘I live, no not I, Christ lives in me’, That is one of the bedrocks, I think, of all spirituality. ourselves and allow God to work in us and through us. It is only if we have done the work of the human development, that God is able to work in us.”
The second key, I am suggesting, is communication. It is about more than just talk, it’s about networking in the parish, networking in the diocese. There are some people who are very good at it.
He also underscored accountability – accountability to each other and to God. We have not been very good at that.
He reminded the gathering of the see/ judge/act method which has guided Catholic action since the 1950s. A true Christian must be able to move beyond analysis and talk, to action which transforms for kingdom living. ‘See’ is an accurate analysis of the situation, the real lived context of the ecclesial community. How many of us can say that we know what’s going on in our parish? Do you understand? Do you confront that? Do you look at it? See it.
One challenge of Christian witnessing today, is that we must become a church of the poor. There is need to develop structures, which enable the poor to be subjects of their own destiny.. Where is the spirit leading us as we face this particular issue?
Having set the tone regarding criteria and mission of the soon to be established Diocesan Pastoral Council, Bishop Harvey warned participants to gear up for the real role of stewardship by adopting the right principles and attitude. He says, “that calls for vision, that calls for some people to be able to say: “Yes I think this is where we ought to go. Yes, this is where I think the Spirit is leading us.” He posits that we are not about sitting down and just mumbling.