Fr Joe Ensing writes from Papua New Guinea requesting financial assistance for Catechist training in Hagita. Can you help?
I came to St Pauls Pastoral Centre in 2001 after a year and a half on staff at Lumko Institute in South Africa. I joined Bill Cunningham and Sr Brenda Nash OLSH at SPPC and took over as director when Bill retired a number of years ago.
The main thrust of our work at the Pastoral Centre since 2003 has been the formation and training of 'Parish Animation Teams'. The idea is roughly similar to a Catechists training program that you would be familiar with from your time PNG.
Besides the PAT programs, we also run renewal courses for those lay people who are active in pastoral ministry throughout the diocese and we, assist with Diocesan Youth ministry, Family Life Apostolate, and in-service for our Catholic teachers, etc. We also go out to the parishes to follow up on our trainees.
At present we are on our third PAT program. As with trained Catechists, some die, some fall away, and there is always need for new replacements. The program has developed into a series of three months blocks covering two and a half years, total of 15 months. Participants are meant to form a team with their Parish Priest and any other full time Pastoral Minister, such as a Religious Sister in the Parish. As a team they conduct Awareness Courses and trainings for a variety of pastoral ministries at Parish and Outstation 'Catholic Community' level.
On an average, we have been forming and training about 40 persons on each of the 3 programs conducted so far. These have included some Religious Sisters.
This is a rough outline of the program:
• A series of 8 short foundation courses in Theology and Scripture
• Adult education and the formation of Small Christian Communities
• Training / formation in a series of Liturgical ministries, such as preaching and conducting Sunday Service, burial, singing etc
• training / formation in a series of Pastoral Care ministries, such as pastoral care for sick and visitation, parish census, Parish Pastoral Council, marriage
• training / formation in a series of Catechetical ministries, such as preparation for sacraments, and RCIA - Adult Catechesis, RE and RI
• training / formation in a series of Social action ministries: Social teachings of the Church; setting up JP&SI parish groups.
The 18 parishes of our Diocese have been invited to send some participants, according to needs, to each of our programs. Some participants come as married couples with children.
The ideal is that each Catholic Community / Out station / Mass Centre, throughout the diocese will have a number of active pastoral ministers working as a team.
Our main source of funding over the years has been the Pontifical Mission Society in Rome.
In October 2015 we received for the Pastoral Centre a little over PG Kina 74.000 which translates roughly AUS 30,000 for the year. Taking into account currency fluctuations, this has been an average contribution from Rome since 2002.
With help from other funding agencies (and our MSC Missions office) for particular projects and special needs, we have been able to subsist over the years.
In 2013 and 2014, Sr Brenda and I were invited to conduct a Diploma program for Religious Srs and Brs in pastoral ministry along the lines of our PAT programs at 5 months each of those two years. This reduced activity and spending at SPPC well within the Rome subsidy for those two years.
However, cost of living has increased and my report to Rome for 2015 indicates a costing balance of K136,000 or AU$54000 is well over the regular Roman subsidy.
For this year, 2016, my report to end of September reads K 131 ,000 or AU$52,400 Right now we are owing our main Supermarket supplier for monthly statement ending 30 September the amount of PGK11,332.75 ($A 4,520). I calculate that by the end of October, when we conclude this second last block, we will spend another K9,000 ($A3,600) n store goods food supplies alone, not including wages etc. but our SPPC bank account is virtually empty.
To cut a long story short we are looking for about PG Kina 30,000 ($A12 000) to clear 2016, and any help will be appreciated.
We have been operating on the basis that the local Community or the Parish pays transport costs of the participants to come to Hagita. Then we look after them and pay for transport fares to return home at the end of each three month block.
I hope this is useful background to support our plea for immediate help.
Joe Ensing msc
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