Mr. Manik Willver D'Costa Pastoral Coordinator, Archdiocese of Chittagong
Responding to the call of the Asian Bishops, Diang Church initiated the neighbourhood community program. This is to be noted that ‘New way of being Church’ is also a pastoral approach of Chittagong archdiocese.
The small village Church is divided into four neighbourhood communities. Three communities namely Maria Para, Joseph Para and Christian Para at the same area at Karnaphuli upazila and Banshkhali Tea Estate at Banshkhali upazila. During the month of May, community people had their first meetings and elected their leaders to serve the community. They have also nominated two leaders as their delegates to the Parish Pastoral Council. Eight delegates (two each) from four communities, two delates from the religious brothers and sisters, and the parish pastor formed the pastoral council of 11 members.
The oath taking ceremony and training of the pastoral council and community leaders was organized on the 17th May 2019 at the parish centre. The event is opened by an eucharistic celebration consecrated by the parish pastor Rev. Albert Soren. At the end of the mass the diocesan pastoral coordinator Mr. Manik Willver D’Costa conducted the oath ceremony. The pastor then blessed the leaders during a prayer.
When the mass was over, the leaders gathered at the parish hall. They were given training sessions on: Structure of the Universal Church, An Introduction to the Neighbourhood Communities, and Role & Responsibilities of Pastoral Council and Community Leaders. The sessions were conducted by Mr. Manik Willver D’Costa. Leaders also took the opportunity to receive clarification on various faith and social issues from him.
The gathering then ended in a fellowship meal together.
This is to be noted that the Cathedral parish at Chattogram is the first to initiate the program and Diang is following. The diocese is now in the process to adapt the Asian Integral Pastoral Approach (AsIPA) to walk in the new way of being Church. A guideline is being formulated to support and nurture the program.