Was the Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly a success?

I would like to share my experience at the recent Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly May 1-3 at the Church of the Holy Family in Kajang.

May 20, 2016

Dear Editor,

I would like to share my experience at the recent Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly May 1-3 at the Church of the Holy Family in Kajang.

First of all, the organization was superb. The enthusiasm, boundless. There were whispers that participants might leave early or amble in and out. No such thing. The crowd was there, full force, till the conclusion.

Deliberations were held professionally (more on this later), and many who attended previous assemblies stated that it was a breath of fresh air.

The statistics presented on the current global and local trends was an eye opener. Very real, very mind boggling.

However, one wonders, was the spirit of free deliberations really present? The agenda was set on what’s to be deliberated. Even how it’s to be deliberated was coaxed.

Contributions to chart the course of the Church for the next 10 years was apparently to be summed up in three plus hours by the participants. Maybe the application of professional facilitators will have to be balanced, to ensure free thought emanates in future assemblies.

The one thought that did not surface at the Assembly was the state of the Church. Despite the “doom and gloom” reflected by the statistics, walk into any parish in the Klang Valley, and it’s mostly full, or even, standing room only. Most parishes have three Masses on Sundays to cater to the crowd. Catechism enrolment is fantastic. Numbers in the 1k in my parish.

The question was not asked if this reflected the richness and depth of faith in the Church or just a trend? Is having Baptisms, Holy Communions, Confirmations and Church Weddings just trendy? Is the Church a club?

Read the signs. Seventy per cent of the marriages in the Church are mixed marriages. Beyond Confirmation, youths disappear until marriage. Sometimes, this happens as early as after Holy Communion.

The census shows 4,000 plus Church goers who are not baptized. They are just happy to be in the Church, no strings attached.

Despite the political mess and the deficiency of trust in the government, the main agendas summed up in the Assembly were inward looking.

Even the request to set up Catholic Education, one wonders, was another act of wanting to withdraw from the society to exclusivity.

When the Holy Father whispered his famous sound byte “who am I to judge”, discussion raged in youth groups as to what he was saying with regards to Same Sex relationships, when there was no doubt or ambivalence at all about the teachings.

Is the Church vibrant or just noisy? We must inquire. Remember the admonishing of the Church of Poland by St John Paul II after the country was liberated and when the Church was free of persecution? Let’s take heed.

Towards PMPC IV.

God bless.

Alan Lukose

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