On January 28, 2016 the Jaro Archdiocesan Pastoral Secretariat (JAPS) welcomed guests from the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria composed of members of the archdiocesan pastoral team headed by the auxiliary bishop, vicar general and pastoral director with 8 parish priests and 6 lay people. The pastoral team attended a course on Orientation to a Participatory Church which is being offered by Bukal Ng Tipan, a CICM Mission Spirituality Center that journeys with people and dioceses towards a Participatory Church. The training course started on January 19 and ended on February 4. Part of the course is an immersion/exposure to different parishes and Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) partnering with Bukal especially in terms of skills training, spiritual formation and community organizing.
The Archdiocese of Jaro hosted the exposure program for the Vienna Pastoral Team in coordination with Bukal Ng Tipan from January 28 to February 2. The program included visits to different Magagmay nga Kristianong Katilingban (MKK) or BECs in the archdiocese such as the MKKs in Brgy. Nasapahan, Lemery, Brgy. Tiabas, San Dionisio, Brgy. Sto. Tomas, Passi City, the parishes of San Miguel, Tubungan, Igbaras and Lapaz, Iloilo City. The guests were also introduced to the different socio-economic projects initiated by Rebuild in partnership with the MKKs that were affected by typhoon Yolanda, such as the organic Farm in Brgy. Nasapahan and the Seaweed Processing and Production in Brgy. Tiabas.
The Vienna Pastoral Team had a chance to dialogue with the pastors and leaders of the different communities and experience a neighborhood liturgy with a reflection and sharing on the Word of God, participate in an Awareness Raising Session (ARS) on the environment designed and facilitated by the Parish Formation and Organizing teams of the local parishes, listen to personal stories and struggles of ordinary people with extraordinary faith. They also attended a Sunday Liturgy led by a lay minister (Panimbahon) and celebrated a lively Sunday Mass in different parishes.
The JAPS and Rebuild Project team are very grateful for the opportunity to host the pastoral team of Vienna who were so appreciative and enthusiastic to learn from the MKKs of Jaro. For the members of the MKK it was a pleasure and a blessing to welcome and host new friends who have become brothers and sisters. The exposure program was so successful that Bukal Ng Tipan has requested the archdiocese to host 3 more groups coming from Germany on the first week of March, and possibly on the first and last weeks of November.
Hosting the events is also a way of nurturing the seeds of faith that continue to grow within the MKK with encouragement and affirmation from the different groups that come halfway around the world to visit. The exchange is a fertile ground for the local church to dialogue and learn from different cultures and contexts, further enhancing the approaches that are being used to realize the vision of a participatory church.
We share some memorable images and quotes based on reflections and feedback from our visitors: