TALK at Mass on the PPC Sunday July 19, 2015
Good Morning everyone,
I’m Pete Halpin and this morning I am going to take a few minutes to speak to you about the Parish Pastoral Council, of which I am a member.
I am fortunate to have grown up as a member of the Bosco Parish, and to have been educated at Bosco Primary and High Schools. I work in Catholic Education, and was a teacher at Bosco College for the five years between 2003-2007. I joined the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) in September of 2014, after Fr Mick made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.
Rather than spend this time discussing the nuts and bolts of the PPC, there is sufficient information regarding these things on the Parish Website, I would like to talk about two things that have been eye opening for me during my short time on the Council.
Firstly, despite the fact that I have spent the majority of my life in the Bosco Parish, it wasn’t until after joining the PPC that I became aware of the significant number of groups that operate within the Parish. Sure I knew about certain groups, either because I had been involved in them at some stage or another (such as the Lectors and Acolytes) or because they have a strong history and/or a visible presence (such as St Vincent de Paul), but many of the other groups were unknown to me.
I was both surprised, and NOT, at discovering such an array of groups within the Parish. Surprised because I wondered how I had missed all of this stuff that was happening right in front of me, but not surprised because I have always been conscious of an enormously strong sense of community within the Bosco Parish. The faith, love and dedication of the Salesian Fathers, Sisters and Brothers have always been unifying and galvanising forces around here, and the involvement in Parish organisations of so many people that I have known over the years is testament to this.
As a member of the PPC, I would like to contribute by being a communication bridge between particular groups in the Parish and Fr Mick, through the instrument of the PPC. I feel that I have already been able to do this to a small extent, and it has been a true privilege to meet and engage with people, whose commitment to serving others is so strong. I hope that, throughout my time on the PPC, I can continue to assist them in their mission.
The second thing that I want to share with you is that, along with discovering the broad range of groups in the Parish, I have discovered that the existence of some of these groups is very fragile. Their fragility is, most often, not due to a lack of effectiveness or need, but quite simply of circumstance.
One of the nominated roles of the PPC is to “Support and encourage the various Parish Ministries”. As a member of the PPC, it is my goal to work with Parish groups, where required, in ways that make it easier for them to fulfil their purposes. I feel that in this Parish, which has such a broad range of groups, it would be easy for any number of them to feel as if they are working in isolation, and that any problems that they face, they have to face alone.
To me, it is vital that the PPC is a genuine hub of support and guidance to all Parish groups, but particularly to those who are working through difficulties brought about by circumstance.
During my time of service on the PPC, I would like to assist in the ongoing development of this hub, as I believe that this is one of the ways that we can avoid being a Parish with a whole lot of disparate groups working in isolation, and continue to build a strong community network, where the members of every group feel that they belong to, and contribute meaningfully, to the broader life of the Parish and the wider Church.
A reflection on my time on the PPCI was blessed and privileged to serve on the St John Bosco Parish Pastoral Council for three years (from 2014-2016). I have always had a sense of appreciation for the gifts our parish enjoys and which are animated daily by our priests, religious and our lay people. However the three years I spent on the PPC deepened my understanding and appreciation for the tremendous and untiring work of our pastors and the enthusiasm and dedication of the numerous groups that continue to thrive. I think I also learned more about the real challenges of new evangelisation during this time than in my regular ‘day job’.
I enjoyed getting to know Fr Mick, Fr Jose and other members of the PPC better on a personal level as we worked together for the good of our parish. These relationships strengthened my sense of belonging. Not a meeting went by when I didn’t come away feeling inspired by the faith and action of those around the table. The meetings are wonderful forums for reflecting, sharing, considering and acting – always conscious that we are the facilitators for others, to draw others more deeply into community.
Each person brings their special gifts to the PPC and I thank God for them.
PPC Members Reflections
I invite past PPC members to share a few paragraphs about their experience on the PPC.
(A possible framework is share one thing you enjoyed, one thing you learnt, and one way the PPC might grow or improve.)