Six enrichment sessions for lay leaders

Six enrichment sessions for lay leaders

Sep 18, 2021

PENANG: The first session of the Parish Leaders Transformation Training (PLTT) organised by the Institute for New Evangelisation (INE) was by Fr Joseph Stephen CSsR who spoke about bringing Christ into a crisis. He spoke about the importance of looking for the positives in a crisis so that one would be able to keep hope alive thus finding productive ways to get through the crisis. He added that the Holy Spirit is ever ready to assist us. We need only ask for His help and guidance. He also touched on what evangelism means and its mechanics.

In the second session, INE Chairman, Michael Xavier, spoke on parish congregation needs. After identifying the five areas of need of a community – spiritual, mental, health, social and finance, he went on to speak on how a leader can lead a community to become self-sustaining by equipping them with the necessary skills to maintain and nurture themselves after getting them back on their feet. Michael also taught the participants how to conduct efficient and productive surveys that would enable leaders to promptly deal with the discrepancies of a situation in the community and bring positive and productive results that would benefit everyone. He added that all data in a survey should be taken seriously regardless of the number projected.

Catholic lay missionary Jude Antoine spoke about being a servant leader. The definition of a servant leader is a person who emulates the attitude of Christ. The servant leader is one who understands that true leadership is to serve, not to be served. Throughout His life, Christ not only preached love, forgiveness and compassion, but lived His life in a manner that reflected His teaching. Jude used the example of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples as a leader who serves. He empathised that the traits of what Christ asks of a leader differs from the standards of the world.

Elizabeth Lopez shared on how to stay close while still practicing physical distancing. The current realities like the uncertainty of not having a steady income and the issue of fake news could cause people to further isolate themselves, making it difficult for us to stay close to the people in our community. Therefore, in trying times like this, leaders must try to walk in other peoples’ shoes if they want to maintain a sense of closeness among the community. Elizabeth shared the 3R’s that leaders can use to help people remain close — reconnect proactively, reach out through any medium possible, and raise morale by involving people.

The Vice President of INE, Alex Choong talked about capitalising and recapitalising. He said that leaders should adhere to Catholic Social Teaching which upholds the dignity and basic rights of the human person. He added that it is also important to manage the parish database diligently and have realistic execution plans to get things going with the resources available.

The final session was on social media outreach (SMO) by Paul Julianose and Amanda Lee. The youngest speakers in the training module, they took turns to speak on the importance of social media not only because of the pandemic but also to maximise all electronic platforms to be ready for the possibility of a hybrid future of the physical and virtual. The duo also came up with the five Beatitudes of SMO which are Be Organised, Be Willing to Learn, Be Creative, Be Open to Feedback and Be Ready to Delegate. In addition, they also showed how some tools work.

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