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Parish Pastoral Assembly (P.P.A.) –
what it is and how to get involved.
An explanation prepared by the Parish Steering Committee.
You have heard some mention of Parish Pastoral Assemblies in church over the past few months. I am going to speak for a couple of moments to introduce the idea of Parish Pastoral assemblies (also known as Parish pastoral councils). They have been around for a long time – at least 50 years! Their establishment as part of the regular working of a parish over the years has been somewhat hit and miss. The diocese of Meath has committed itself to the establishment of a PPA in each parish before the end of this year. Work has started throughout the diocese. Like many other parishes we here in Kinnegad have begun the process of establishing a PPA locally. Our first step has been to set up a steering committee to get the process off the ground. I am a member of the steering committee, and I will speak on the PPA’.
First, what is a PPA? The PPA is a living model with the potential to affect the collective wisdom of the faith community where people learn to become stewards of the gifts of God, live the liturgy, build up the church and serve the Gospel through a process of: Stimulating thinking, facilitating collaboration, encouraging dialogue, engaging in discernment, enabling decision-making, formulating, promoting, and implementing practical pastoral initiatives. PPA are a faith-filled consultative body of the faithful who work together in furthering the mission of Christ in their own parish.
Historically, the term ‘pastoral’ has its origin in the role of the Shepard and their care of the sheep entrusted to them, a concept later adopted by the early Christians to emphasise the watchful care and social responsibility of the Christian community. The primary concern of the PPA is promoting ‘pastoral action’. Areas of pastoral focus include (but are not limited to) Liturgy, worship, sacramental preparation, faith formation, pastoral care of the sick, bereaved, those is hospital, the dying, youth ministry and outreach.
The PPA should be representative of the entire parish. Members should be: Baptised, practising the Catholic faith, in full communion with the church, be a regular attender of mass in the parish, be at least eighteen years of age., be supporting the parish through giving of time, energy, and finances, be aware of the nature, role and work of the PPA and have an understanding that they will be working as part of a team.
The PPA are recognised bodies within the church structure. Like the Diocesan Pastoral Councils, PPA were strongly recommended by the bishops of the Second Vatican Council (It was a major meeting of the church that took place in the early 1960’s. This is the council that shaped our modern thinking of the church) as a vehicle for promoting the mission of Christ and ensuring that the ‘life and activity of the people of God may be brought into greater conformity with the Gospel.’ The PPA is structure of participation that facilitates “an organic blending of legitimate diversities” encouraging all the baptised to work together for the good of the whole community. ‘Sustaining it in all its many needs: from catechesis to liturgy, from the education of the young to the widest array of charitable works.’
The pastoral assembly is composed of members of the laity together with the parish priest and parish staff responsible for pastoral care; their task is to promote pastoral action in the parish.
The PPA is concerned with issues that affect the lives of parishioners rather than the administration or financial management of the parish. Areas of pastoral concern, which particularly affect PPA, are outlined in the pastoral activities of the parish priest described in the Vatican Documents and the Code of Canon Law. They consist of:
• The proclamation of the Word of God
• Faith formation of catechesis
• Liturgy, justice and peace
• Family life
• Caring of the sick and the poor
• Encouraging parishioners to become actively involved in the mission of the church.
In essence, the PPA is concerned with fulfilling the mission of Christ in the local community and attending to all that affects the faith life of that community. Each committee is in place for 4 years.
Why should you consider becoming a member of a PPA?
• Everyone had something to offer – its our baptismal calling.
• It is an opportunity to help others grow in their faith and continue the work of evangelisation and mission.
• You can contribute in a positive way to the pastoral care of your parish.
• Your involvement affirms the work already done in your parish.
• You can grow in your own understanding of parish and nurture your own faith.
• You can help others commit to a spirit of service, putting faith into action.
The PPA will be a decision-making body in consultation with the Parish priest as members reflect on what is important for the life of the parish. The tools to guide decision making will be prayerful sensitivity to promoting of the holy spirit (prayer), The church teaching, local diocesan norms. The idea is to allow vibrant; mission focused parish take shape under the guidance of the holy spirit. A parish where everyone can come to know Jesus.
Those who become members of PPA will have training provided. There will be support in place. Members will be formally commissioned.
We as a steering committee have decided on the following method as a pathway to become a member of the PPA.
We would like to invite those parishioners who feel called to nominate themselves to do so. Additionally of you know of someone whom you would like to nominate you may do so with their knowledge and permission. We have forms in each of our parish churches. We will be collecting all nominations in two weeks on the 6th of August.
Given the size of our parish we would be looking to have a PPA of people plus the parish priest. After your nominations are collected, we will be going out and asking people to join.
When this process is complete the steering committee will then look at who would be best in the PPA and form our first PPA. Those people will then go on for training.
Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to me today.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit for Confirmation Candidates
Synthesis of the Consultation in Ireland for the Diocesan Stage of the Universal Synod 2021 – 2023
During the diocesan phase of the synodal process, a deliberate effort was made to reach as wide a spectrum of people as possible within the timeframe available. Facilitators listened to people in urban and rural areas, as well as people who are church-goers and people who are not. The document below is a compilation of the main themes identified from the listening and consultation.