Interim committee set-up for Caritas Malaysia

An interim exco has been elected to prepare for the national meeting of Caritas Malaysia.

Mar 21, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: An interim exco has been elected to prepare for the national meeting of Caritas Malaysia.

The representatives of the Malaysian Diocesan Offices of Human Development (OHD) met with their Chair, Bishop Bernard Paul of Malacca Johore and the Executive Secretary of the Bishops Conference, Charles Bertille, to discuss the establishment of Caritas Malaysia.

The objective was to have a quick overview of the state of social-pastoral ministries and existing works in the dioceses, to elect an interim exco to take forward the mandate of the Bishops’ Conference to establish Caritas Malaysia and prepare for the national meeting in May 2020. The day-long meeting on Tuesday, February 25, was held at the Archdiocese Pastoral Centre (APC), and facilitated by Charles.

The representatives felt that, generally, the social mission of the Catholic Church in Malaysia was weak and piecemeal, and thus its impact on society was not felt. They felt that the need was to professionalise the social-pastoral ministries so they would be more systematic and cohesive, with research-based responses, capacity building of staff and volunteers. They also asked if the Church could allocate resources for fulltime professional staff and programmes,  as volunteers alone were not sufficient.

They saw the advantage of being part of an Asian and International network through the Caritas confederation, as it provides a time-tested framework and proven structure for carrying out the social-pastoral mission without having to re-invent the wheel.

Alongside this there were also apprehensions about losing one’s identity and how it would be accepted by other commissions, heads and pastors. The Bishop Chair assured everyone that we would all walk in faith, and together develop a roadmap in phases. He also affirmed that Bishops too would subscribe to structural changes as no change takes place without changes in structures. As such, he said, there had to be a lot of unlearning and re-learning or formation for everyone.

The representatives also decided to have a diocese wide consultation in the months of March-April to listen to the voices on the ground. A questionnaire has been sent out by the Exec Sec to all dioceses. This will help to keep the focus in the discussion and planning exercises. The findings will be brought to the National Caritas meeting May 4-7, 2020.

The representatives then proposed names for the interim exco from all three regions: Alvin Santhanam (Peninsula), Dominic Lim (Sabah), Fr Richard Ngumbang (Sarawak). Two others were invited by the Chair namely, Fr Alvin Ng SJ and Fr Bernard Hyacinth SJ. The five reps together with the Bishop Chair and Exec Sec will form the interim exco. They will meet via Skype to prepare for the upcoming national meeting.

Total Comments:0