Parish Pastoral Assembly (PPA) held on 10th Nov 2019

The Church of The Visitation Parish Pastoral Assembly (PPA) was held on 10th November, 2019.  Core team members of the Basic Ecclesiastical Communities (BECs), the various Ministries in the Church, the 8 Cluster groups and the Mandarin, Tamil and Bahasa Malaysia Apostolates gathered in the Visitation Community Hall. The PPA which started at 2.00 pm, was attended by the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, His Grace The Most Rev. Julian Leow. This is His Grace's second visit to The Church of the Visitation in November.  The first was on 9th Nov 2019, when His Grace Presided at the 10.00 am Mass to celebrate the Perpetual Profession of  Canossian Nun, Sr. Sagaya Mary Joseph.  Also present at the PPA were the Archdiocesan Basic Ecclesial Communities Animating Team (ABECAT) led by Monsignor Mitchel Anthony Joseph.

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The assembly began with the Mid-day Prayers led by Doreen from the Liturgy team. This was followed by the welcome address by Rev Fr. George Harrison, Parish Priest of The Church of The Visitation.  Fr. George thanked all who have come. He said the PPA is a time to reflect where The Church of the Visitation is today, the journey the Church has undertaken and where the Church will go from here. Fr. George emphasised that, of the 8 cluster groups present, the BEC is the most important.  Fr. George further went on to say what the letters B.E.C stand for. He said B is for BEING together; E for EVANGELIZING to one another and C for COMMITTING ourselves. He reminded the assembly that the Church must be like what The Holy Father, Pope Francis had said, I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.  Fr. George ended his welcome address by thanking all the participants once again for their presence.  Fr. George then introduced to the PPA, Pamela Lee, Mandarin Apostolate, who was the Emcee for the day.

Fr George addresing PPA 1026

Representatives from 3 cluster groups presented their findings in the areas of concern and what can be done. The Youth group was represented by Wilfred, followed by Inter Religious Dialogue (EIRD) by Christopher Krishnan and the Parish Integral Human Development Ministry (PIHDM) by Ann Ratnam. Fr. George assisted in translating some key points highlighted by the cluster groups as they presented in their respective languages. 

The ABECAT team then took over with Msgr. Mitchel addressing the Assembly. He asked if the other language groups were aware of the findings presented by the 3 cluster groups, noting that the Church of The Visitation is unique because its parishioners are made up of the four language groups, namely, English, Mandarin, Tamil and Bahasa Malaysia. Msgr. Mitchel then asked the Assembly to get into groups of six.  He presented 4 questions for discussion. The questions are as follows:

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Question no.2 Mission 0962

Question no.3 Unity 0964

Question no.4 Media 0965

Each group was asked to focus on only one question that they felt was important to The Church of The Visitation.  Participants were given 40 minutes to discuss and share their ideas. A few groups were randomly called to share what they had discussed.

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Group sharing 3 0970
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The assembly adjourned for a 20-minute tea break.  The Assembly gathered again in the Community Hall after the tea break. Msgr. Mitchel then gave a breakdown of the sharing of the various groups.   From the 20 groups, he said, 9 groups chose the topic on Relationship (45%), 7 groups chose Unity (35%), 3 groups chose Social Media (15%) and 1 group chose Mission Out-Reach (5%). Msgr. Mitchel said that these statistics were just an indicator.  He also continued to say that we cannot side-line the other 3 areas discussed. He informed the Assembly that his team will tabulate the sharing and present it to Fr. George, for him to bring it up with the Church Council for their planning. Msgr. Mitchel concluded by reminding the Assembly that, whatever is to be planned must be achievable and measurable.

His Grace The Archbishop Julian Leow then addressed the Assembly.  In his concluding summary of the day’s proceedings, His Grace noted that The Church of The Visitation is unique, in the sense that their Parish Priest, Rev Fr. George Harrison is able to converse in all 4 languages. His Grace thanked all present for being here. Touching on the topic of relationship, he said, that parents play an important role towards their children in building strong family ties. He added that the smartphones have become the biggest obstacle in today’s relationships. Turning his attention to the youths, His Grace reminded them that they have an important role ahead especially in the next General Election, whereby, those who are 18 years and above will be eligible to vote, as their names will be automatically registered. Hence, it becomes a must that they fulfil their obligation. It is important for them to know what is happening in the country and to choose the right leaders. The language of love (Bahasa cinta), he said, can bridge the gap between the various language groups in the Church of the Visitation.

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His Grace the Archbishop then asked the participants if they are being inclusive.  Are they concerned towards their church community?  In relationship with other Christian denominations and people of other faiths, His Grace noted that The Church of the Visitation has organised many programs. He called to enquire better knowledge, skills and understanding when engaging in dialogue with them.

His Grace the Archbishop went on to emphasise that the real presence of Jesus is in the Eucharist and can only be found in the Catholic Church. Hence, he added that we must be steadfast in our faith and not waiver. It is not enough to become a Sunday Catholic. The youths must have the experience of knowing who Jesus is to them personally, as a Saviour and a Friend and not merely enquiring information which is readily available. He said that our faith life is mirrored in our actions, words and deeds that will attract others. He added it is the Holy Spirit that will guide those who see our Christian living to embrace Christ and it is not our duty to do so, but rather, we need to convert ourselves. His Grace the Archbishop once again thanked Fr. George, the ABECAT team and the participants.

ABJ addressing PPA 1020

The PPA ended with His Grace the Archbishop, Msgr. Mitchel Anthony Joseph and Fr. George Harrison giving their blessings upon the participants. The PPA came to an end at 6.00 pm.

Editing by Lizzie Vincent and Photos by Albert Anthony - Social Communication & Media Ministry, Church of The Visitation,Seremban.