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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1st Sandakan Diocesan and Parish Staff Recollection

article by ds / st
photos by bell

Sandakan : The Diocese of Sandakan organized a two-day recollection for 33 diocesan and parish staff, 16th and 17th September 2012 at the Diocesan Retreat Centre, Ulu Dusun, close to 45 km from Sandakan town. The recollection was opened to all office as well as non-office employee. It was the first attempt by the Diocese to gather all staff, coming from across the four parishes. Apart from boosting their morale in their job performance, it was also aimed at fostering a closer relationship among the staff in the Diocese and the parishes. The main facilitator was Mr. Charles Bertile, former Director of the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia), Philippines.
"May this recollection, deepen our faith and help us see that working in the diocese/church is not simply a job but rather a ministry. We serve not merely for the priests, but the whole people of God. Jesus Christ will guide us in our journey and enlighten us in carrying out the tasks entrusted  to us." - Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom
The Opening Mass, at Holy Cross Chapel was presided over by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom. The prelate in his homily said that in order that the ministry we dwell in flourish and radiate the light of Christ, we need good relationship with one another and God. We are to serve all who come to us with the spirit of commitment of service, rendering pastoral care. Faith relates to action, therefore we are to be aware always to serve with the faith built in us. He said, 'You will face many challenges and that is the consequences in serving Christ. Look upon the Cross not just as a sign of pain and suffering rather a sign of love and hope.'
The first session was the energizer, 'Knowing you, knowing me' a light and cozy moment facilitated by Anna Amandus, the Diocesan Youth Director. The 40-minute activity created a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It started with an action song, YEPO YEPO followed by a 'DIE GAME' where all participated with much zeal . It brought the staff from the diocese and the various parishes closer setting the tone for the session proper.
The second session, facilitated by Charles Bertile, was on Understanding of Church, its meaning, its membership and its mission. The session also touched on images of Church, marks as attributes of the Church, models of Church and the changes at Vatican II. 
The third session was on 'The Particular Church and Parishes' also facilitated by Charles. He gave a clear definition of both terms, that particular church and parishes. It was a very informative session for it covered a brief sketch of parish in Church history, the theology of the local church and the priciples of working together.

The fellowship brings us together regardless of our status, race and languange. We are one in Christ.
In the evening, we had fellowship, bbq and games and it was not only filled with laughter and joy but it had also strengthened our friendship and broke the wall that separated us. In the gathering, the close bond is likened to Roman 10 : 12, 'For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him.'
Basic office Administration

On the second day 17th September 2012, Francis Tan, the Executive Secretary facilitated the session on basic office administration. He reminded the participants that in acquiring whatever office facilities or its usage to always remember the parable as in Mark 12 : 42, 'But a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.' He touched on the qualities of a good church employee, the expectation of the faithful and the support for all Church ministries. A good structure coupled with a good system and a positive working culture will ensure an effective office that projects the image of Christ. The office is the window to the Church and it is through the staff that whoever walks into it will either encounter the invitation or rejection of Christ. The office ought to be well organized just as in 1 COR 14 : 40, 'Let all things be done decently and in order.'

Financial procedure and Internal Control System.
Sharon Ho of the Diocesan Finance Office facilitated the session on financial procedure and internal control system. As custodian of parish / diocesan finance, it is pertinent to have a strong and efficient system. All transactions must follow the financial procedure adopted by the diocese and must be properly recorded, compiled and filed. We are to be transparent, and accountable in all transactions.
The fourth session was on 'Church Data Information System' presented by Sebastian Francis of St Dominic's Church, Lahad Datu. Parish staff found it to be user friendly and proposed to have a one-day session on the subject so as to be acquainted with the program.
Listening to the sharing of each one - Open Discussion
The last session of the day was the open dialogue moderated by Francis Tan. Everyone was given the opportunity to share their ups and downs while serving full-time in the church. They brought up issues touching on their welfare and job security. Practically most agreed that parishes engage full time pastoral worker catering to the pastoral needs of the people. Most serve in response to God's call and are happy to stay on as they are able to relate to the people of God.
As we lay our hands upon our brothers and sisters we pray for one another 
Charles requested the participants to reflect on the mission of the Church that by God's own generous choice, have been called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor 1 : 19) and through them spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere (2 Cor 2 : 14)
The Closing Mass was presided by Bishop Julius. In his homily he said that Jesus is eager to enter into our lives. We hold the key, either we open up or remain closed. If we choose to remain closed, nothing will change. However if we choose to open up and allow Jesus to enter our lives as His humble servant, rest assured that He will strengthen us, lead and guide us, walk beside us and participate in our lives.He called on all participants to walk in one direction, to one destination in accordance to His will.
After Mass, participants from the various parishes shared on their experiences of the recollection.
"I learned how to share with other people even though they are from other parishes. I am beginning to appreciate my work. God called me to continue to serve in my place (Paitan), I want to learn more about time management, financial procedures, controlling my feelings and be an effective pastoral agent." - Sunday Samuel Worok (Catechist, Paitan Missionary Area)
"I believe I am called out of darkness. I am thankful to God to be given the opportunity to serve full time in St Dominic's Church. I pray that I will shine, radiating His light and love to all whom I may encounter" Juliana Hendrikus (St. Dominic's Church, Lahad Datu) 
"I felt appreciated. Even though I am of the lower rung in the Church structure, I am invited to this gathering. I get to know the other staff from the other parishes and the diocese. I am called to serve with commitment, love, humility and wisdom" - Melvin (Holy Trinity Chruch, Tawau) 
"It has strengthened our friendship and we need to change ourselves and to journey as a TEAM. God's invitation for me is to continue to serve the Church because it is a calling from Him" - Sylvester Ho (St. Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan)
"I am happy that I joined this recollection. I am renewed and I want to commit my whole life in serving in the Lord's vineyard' Vedulin A/K Muyang (St. Martin's Church, Telupid) 

A token of appreciation to Charles.
"This recollection is only a guide to show us the way to journey together. The Holy Spirit will guide us in the right way, not our way but His way" Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom.
We gathered together regardless of our status or colors. We were able to mix around because everyone is the same in the eyes of our Lord.
Let us continue to pray for each other and till we meet again next year. God bless.

1 comment:

  1. Wow hebat!
    Wow wow hebat hebat
    Wow hebat!
    Wow hebat Diosis Sandakan



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