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  • Fr John Balele

Kimbe Prepares for Birth of Pastoral Plan

Kimbe, West New Britain Province: Thanks to the positive participation and input of Kimbe’s 2021 Catholic Diocesan General Assembly, the birth of its Pastoral Plan now seems more promising than ever before.

The overwhelming feeling of achievement was felt among all participants after the General Assembly held from 3rd - 8th May in the Diocesan Hall of Kimbe. The Assembly called for by Bishop John Bosco Auram of Kimbe, was designed to help in the formation of a Diocesan Pastoral Plan that was unfortunately lacking in the diocese.

The occasion brought together Priests and representatives from twenty different parishes in the three Deaneries of the Diocese namely Kimbe, Hoskins and Kandrian, and was presumed to be the first successful assembly after two failed attempts in its 21 years as a diocese.

Throughout, deaneries reviewed pastoral issues affecting the Church, proposed policies for their respective parishes and presented recommendations for improvement and effective implementation of policies. Eucharistic celebrations and prayer sessions were also held on each day of various days of the week.

Bp Auram stressed the need for a diocesan pastoral plan and described its process as painful and burdensome, yet all had a responsibility to share in the pain of seeing it through. “When mothers give birth, they feel the pain of child bearing, likewise this assembly is like a mother trying to give birth, and the child it is going to bear is the pastoral plan,” he said.

These words by the bishop brought peace, motivation and inspiration to the participants, lighting up the flame of eagerness within them to give more fully rather than becoming demoralised.

He called on participants to be in a prayerful mood during the assembly adding that “prayer remains the soul of this general assembly, prayer will help us know and say what God want us to say.”

Bp Auram admitted that though there was still a long procedure to be followed, he remained optimistic on seeing it through and making it happen for the Catholics in Kimbe. “This work begun in our LKKs where the questionnaires were first glanced, from there it was discussed in your CCPCs, then compiled by your PPCs (parishes) then as the assembly gathered at the start of this week, your work was scrutinized in the deanery level and recommendations made. Now for the Mission and Vision Statements we come together as one Diocese to formulate them. We have operated within the structure and in doing so we re-emphasised and make concrete again this necessary structure upon which our diocese rests,” he said.

He went on to say that, “Though it was inconclusive and not finalised the first draft of the two statements is to be opened up for laity’s scrutiny across the diocese. Where upon after undergoing critique and whatever is formulated after that, will pass through the Clergy Senate Conference for final approval.”

Pastoral Vicar of Kimbe, Fr. Benjamin Agea, expressed his gratitude for the interactive activities, and thanked all for contributing toward making the week-long program a success despite its obvious challenges.

The very significance of this diocesan general assembly was perhaps echoed by one participant a Mr Cosmas Kaki a retired catechist in Valoka Parish from the deanery of Hoskins. When asked to express what this assembly meant for him personally, he said “Being involve in this general assembly has enabled me to become more mature, insightful and more inclined towards my catholic faith and this has inspired within me the desire to be more prudent, vigilant and diligent in expressing and living my faith as an individual, in my family and community.”

Reflecting on the gospel of (Jn 15:9-11) Fr. Sebastian Tiae, the Dean of Hoskins said, “Jesus calls us to be his Friends, so as his friends we must show our love to Jesus, meaning in this assembly thru our work and all that we do, we do it in love, we do it with love and we do it for love, love for God and love for the people.”

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