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Pastoral Apostolate

Our thrust area draws inspiration from GC 34: Decree 19.

420 1. Approximately 3,200 Jesuits labor in two thousand parishes throughout the world. In recognizing the important service to the Church represented by this investment of manpower, we affirm that "the parish apostolate is not contrary to our Constitutions" and add that, under certain circumstances, it is an appropriate apostolate for carrying out our mission of serving the faith and promoting justice.

421 2. The parish, moreover, offers a favorable context to live with the poor and to be in solidarity with them.

Today people are often surprised to learn that Jesuits with education minister in a parish and often think that the parish is the ordinary ministry of the church and the work of a Diocesan priest. But. Decree 19 of General Congregation 34 provides a clear rationale for parish ministry: the service of faith, the promotion of justice, and solidarity with the poor.

Parish ministry affords us pastors the opportunity to meet people of all stages of faith and touch the heart of the poor personally and communally. Our parish ministry confirms that Jesuits are not only for others but Jesuits are with others.

Our context, challenges, and core issues

  • Accompanying people of God with the Spiritual Exercises and the practice of personal and communal discernment in decision-making.
  • Need for creative ways to reach people and to make them participate actively in liturgies and pastoral activities.
  • The fundamentalist groups interfering with and distracting the normal life of the Catholics in parishes.
  • Need to regularize marriages that are done by the Catholics outside of the Church as well as within the church. In mixed marriages Catholic party does not fulfill their promises of bringing their children in Catholic faith.

Primary objective/ goal

Our primary objective is to empower and encourage the people to realize the importance of their common priesthood and to identify people’s gifts and abilities for works of service.

Strategies adopted

- Calling every member to his or her fundamental baptismal right and responsibility to assume an active role in the parish community.

  • Updating laity in their theology and Scripture.
  • Inculcating laity with the teaching of Vatican II.
  • Educating laity through effective homiletics and seminars.

- Empowering people to take more responsibilities and making them feel that the parish is theirs, not the pastors.

  • Training people in effective and affective leadership.
  • Delegating the important dimensions of management and administration and many other functions to qualified lay secretary.
  • Being formed as pastors in humility and willingness to receive feedback and critique.

- Equipping people to do the various parish activities so that they all must work together as a body for the good of the parish.

  • Organizing annual retreats and Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life for the lay people in the parish.
  • Imbuing the pastoral council with the skills of discernment.
  • Training catechists in catechetical and theological knowledge through classes and seminars.
  • Consolidating various groups engaged in parish pastoral activities through a regular monthly meeting with them.

- Visiting families in their respective zone to find out their needs and to build a good relationship among them.

  • Visiting families once in two years
  • Celebrating Eucharist at Anpia families.
  • Participating in personal devotion such as rosary, anpia meeting, and enthronement of Sacred Heart etc.
  • Being available for our parishioners at the parish house.

Key shifts we Jesuits follow as pastors

- It is always good to remember that the author of our ministry is God. We are instruments used by Him to touch the lives of people with our service. Our gifts are to be used to minister to people entrusted to our care as pastors.
- Our ministry must be motivated by mercy, compassion and cheerful attitude. Working in a parish is not hard. It simply has to be something we desire to do.
- We should not design the people in our parish to wait around us pastors. We must prepare them for works of service so that the parish may be built up. In this endeavor let us appreciate our unique call as pastors and the processes that God is taking to shape us into Christ-likeness.

Our Parishes

- St. Sebastian Church, Batticaloa
- St. Ignatius Church, Dutch Bar, Batticaloa
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ganthalawa, Kanthale
- St. Anne’s Church, Maliboda
- St. Lawrence Church, Padinawala, Boragas

Prepared by S. Ahilaraj, S.J. on behalf of the Pastoral Team