Diocese of Sibu deliberates on Draft Synthesis Report at Pre-Synodal Assembly

A total of 99 Catholics from the various parishes in the Diocese of Sibu participated in the Pre-Synodal Assembly at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Kemuyang on 21 May 2022.

May 24, 2022

Priests at the Assembly. (L-R): Capuchin Friar Fr Raphael Samosir, Fr Richard Lau, Mgr Michael Lee, Fr Alphosus Tang, Fr Ivan Fang. Not in pic, Fr Philip Hu, Fr Cruzito Manding. (Photo: Synod Secretariat Sibu)

SIBU: A total of 99 Catholics from the various parishes in the Diocese of Sibu participated in the Pre-Synodal Assembly at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Kemuyang on 21 May 2022. The Assembly was called to give thanks to the Lord for his guidance and to celebrate the fruits of the synodal journey.

The Assembly began with a prayer session led by some members of the Religious communities.

In his address, the Diocesan Coordinator for the Synodal Process, Fr Ivan Fang MHM mentioned inter-alia that synodality was here to stay. He acknowledged that the Assembly had come together to resolve to learn to walk together as one People of God by fostering a spirit of listening and cooperation among the various sectors within the church: bishop, priests, religious and lay. 

This would allow the church to discover the best ways to include everyone in the life of the church community, especially in decision-making.

“For synodality to take root we must grow from being a hierarchical church to being a synodal church by taking some important and practical steps such as to create a clear common vision for the Diocese (giving direction), bridge the distance (fostering communion), create communities (encouraging participation) and reach out (promoting mission). Synodality as a process must become the norm for the Church community,” he pointed out.

Thereafter, the draft Synthesis Report containing a summary of the reports from the various parishes in the Diocese was presented and commented upon by the participants.

In small groups, the participants discussed and agreed on what measures were to be adopted and implemented by the diocese to enhance communion, participation and mission within the church as the People of God walk together, led by the Holy Spirit.

The Assembly ended with the celebration of the Eucharist presided by Msgr Michael Lee, the Vicar-General of the Diocese, who stood in for Bishop Joseph Hii. 

In his homily, Msgr Lee said Christians are called to be like Jesus Christ and to love one another. “We are to love according to His way and not our human way. We need to love others and not Christ only and that means nothing other than to die to self and letting Christ live in us. The more we live in Christ, the more we love one another and the more complete is Christ’s love in us.”

“The way we can walk together is to die to oneself and manifest the sign of faith we have in Jesus and in our Diocese in order to bring about unity. Then, only can synodality be incarnated in our Diocese and our parishes,” he said.

Fr Alphonsus Tang, the Chancellor, maintained that the concept of Synodality is what the church was all about and that the church had always walked together.

“But may be only now we have discovered how precious it is. The three themes of communion, participation and mission are not three separate themes but one,” he said, adding that the parishioners have already been carrying these out.

He urged people not to do only big things but little things out of love for Jesus, for the glory of God and for the blessings of others and oneself. “In everything that we are doing we need to do well and do it better,” he said.

He also said that the consultation process would continue in the future.

“We will have the Regional Pastoral Assembly next year and the Pan Malaysia Pastoral Convention in 2026 whereby we will be listening and learning from one another, focusing on four aspects of church life, namely Family, Church, Social and Ecology. We belong to a bigger community and participate in the Universal Church. If all of us are together, we can support one another and journey together and do better,” he said.--Today's Catholic

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