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Encouraging leaders to empower 

By Abigail Seta

Tuesday, February 19, 2020


Port Moresby: Bp Gilles Côté, Bishop of Daru-Kiunga is encouraging leaders to empower the laity to utilize their gifts and create an environment where people feel called to contribute to the fullest extent. 


In his talk on Tuesday 18th February, Bp Gilles spoke on servant leadership in the first Talk Series hosted by the Catholic Bishops Conference. At the introduction of the talk, he portrayed the servant leadership role by washing another’s feet in service. He invited the audience and those listening to Radio Maria to reflect on this symbolic action.


“A servant leader has more chance to recognize, acknowledge and value the gifts of the laity

and support the use of their gifts in ministries outside the Church,” Bp Gilles stated to an audience of around 100 persons. 


“They also help to develop gifts and involve laity much more intentionally in the mission of the Church, with special emphasis on their gifts for leadership and teamwork.”


During his 2-hour talk, he spoke about Jesus as a servant leader and the example of Pope Francis. Quoting Matthew 20:28: “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to live his life as a ransom for many,” he elaborated the following. Jesus articulated his own ministry as ‘service’ because he modeled the behaviors inherent in-service leadership, he facilitated both the education and formation of his disciples. He highlighted the choices Jesus made, the aspects of Jesus as a servant leader and model of Christian leadership. 


Pope Francis was also highlighted as the embodiment of servant leadership in the talk where he is a servant first. Pope Francis is a servant-leader in action. He is not afraid to consult and include others. People can trust him, and he is in touch with life. 


“Pope Francis lives servant leadership. His example of servant leadership is in word and actions. He challenges us to follow Christ’s words and actions. We need to follow his example. This is the spirit of Servant Leadership that Christ calls us to live in our different ministries,” said Bp Gilles.


Bp Gilles also touched on the characteristics of a servant leader, the leader and the laity and his personal experiences in the diocese of Daru-Kiunga. He encouraged those present and listening in to have the characteristics of a leader and serve with integrity. He added that leadership is not the source of power, authority, control, or dominance, but an attitude and perspective about the self and the meaning of life. 


Servant leadership is more a way of being than a way of doing. “When servanthood becomes the goal and experience of all the workers or members of the institution such as a parish, a school, a seminary, CBC Secretariat, a Religious Congregation, a Diocese and others, it becomes a servant to itself and to the community,” he stated.


Present at the talk were priests, religious brothers, sisters, seminarians from the Catholic Theological Institute and lay people. 


The next session of the CBC Talk Series will be held on March 7th and will have the Archbishop of Rabaul, Abp. Francesco Panfilo sdb speak on Just Land Agreements.

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