UAE: The first Pastoral Assembly takes place at St. Francis of Assisi Church

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UAE: The first Pastoral Assembly takes place at St. Francis of Assisi Church

avosa.org

On Friday, 13 September 2019, the first UAE Pastoral Assembly took place at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Jebel Ali. Bishop Paul Hinder, members of the Curia and the Capuchin Custos of Arabia, Fr. Paul Koenig met with around thirty lay representatives from across the parishes of the UAE for an open exchange addressing concerns, taking in suggestions and listening to their recommendations. The meeting centered around improving the effectiveness of the ministry and witness of our migrant church, while complementing the many points mentioned to the bishop during his pastoral visits.

The bishop announced the convoking of such an assembly on 31 October 2018. The faithful from across the UAE were invited to send in their proposals to address and improve any area of life within the church, either through the representatives of their parish councils or via an online platform to the Bishop’s office.

After receiving and reviewing the inputs received from the faithful, representatives from across the parishes of the UAE - the Vice Presidents and Secretaries of the Parish Councils and twelve others whom the Bishop had co-opted for the purpose from across various broad sectors - were then called for the meeting.

Proposals were received regarding the benefit of having common policies and norms applicable throughout the Vicariate governing the work of church bodies, prayer groups and key ministries. There were also requests for the erection of parish support structures for individuals in distress, the providing of necessary training for those involved in the liturgy, focusing on adult catechism, making the liturgy attractive for small children and improved pastoral care for young people, newly married couples and families. Other points discussed were regarding new ecumenical initiatives, providing support for broken families and for having a reporting structure for cases of sexual abuse of minors. The Bishop also invited proposals from the representatives on how the functioning of the Pastoral Assembly could be regularized.

The Assembly, which concluded in the early afternoon, was an occasion for the parish leaders and representatives to voice their inputs and to hear first-hand from the Bishop his comments on the issues raised. Several recommendations have to be planned well and would take time to implement in a way that would benefit the Vicariate in the long term and taking into account the pastoral realities within the Vicariate.

The first session of the Pastoral Assembly, which concluded on a positive note, is an initiative of Bishop Paul so that lay people can make active contributions on the national and Vicariate level and thus help to support his key pastoral objectives: unity of the church in diversity, continuity in spite of changes in priests and lay leaders, giving priority to faith formation, the word of God and the sacraments, building communication skills, having similar policies in all parishes, care for all the different groups, children, youth, young adults, families, elderly and also the poor and marginalized.

“Go forward, be courageous, start initiating the necessary and positive measures within your parish communities, even while awaiting formal structures,” was the Bishop’s final word to the parish representatives.

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 20:45
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