The CARMEL Agenda: A New Pastoral Direction for 2014
The following article is an excerpt from “A Message from Fr. Larry” featured in the Carmel light Year-end Special Edition magazine, December 2013.
Last November 22, 2013 the Parish Pastoral Council, representing all the organizations and ministries of our parish, met to plan for the year 2014. Being a liturgist myself, I set as the underlying principle of the planning: the Liturgy. And then I proposed to use the acronym of CARMEL as the priority agenda of the Parish. Thus we begin 2014 celebrating the Year of the Laity with a new pastoral direction:
CARING FOR THE FAMILY is our first agenda. We want to concentrate our efforts on the family – being the basic unit of every society. We feel that we could do more for the youth who need guidance and are hungry for parental affection. The B.E.C. has to be strengthened. The parents’ bond must be toughened through stable faith and spirituality programs.
ADVOCACIES need to be laid down. Who is our priority? It seems like the question is defective. But in reality we want to put persons as our priority, thus “who”. We want to promote a Church of the poor, for the poor, and with the poor. We are pining for a Church where the faithful would always be welcome, find comfort and peace in our portals and where everyone is always looking forward to the next Liturgical celebration.
RENEWAL is a necessary step. We need to be converted. We need to replenish. We need to renovate ourselves. That is why we included in this goal the need to have a stable program of Stewardship, a transparent policy of handling funds, and a dynamic way of presenting our places of worship and devotion.
MOTIVATE the faithful towards becoming more and more Christ-like. We want to form leaders among us by letting them undergo basic Christian formation, review the implications of our faith (Creed), prioritize values, and awaken the spirit within. We can use different forms of media for this. We want to make the Liturgy more attractive. We want the parishioners’ faith from within to become more dynamic and vibrant so that it may be manifested in the enthusiasm that they bring in the liturgical celebrations.
ELEVATE the spirituality of the Parish of Mt. Carmel so that we can be transformed into becoming worthy servants of the Master. The different organizations have set our goals for worship and liturgy: to grow in our communion with God and one another through prayer and the celebration of the sacraments, especially Sunday Eucharist.
LITURGY is still the source and summit of Christian life. Liturgy brings us closer to God. We seek to know, we know so that we may believe, we believe so that we may love, we love so that we may become one with God.
So consequently we are going to promote catechesis on the Holy Eucharist as the source and summit of Catholic life. We are also going to promote catechesis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and its place in Catholic life. And certainly we will find ways to foster full, intelligent, and active participation in the life of the Church. By adjusting the schedule of the Sunday Eucharistic Celebrations we hope to revitalize Sunday as the first holy day of all – a day of Christian joy. We can also encourage Eucharistic adoration in the different places of worship. And maybe as an additional instrument of renewal and enlightenment, we can encourage their participation in retreats and renewal programs.
Our Year of Faith celebration has been a fruitful one. It has left us with the challenge to work harder as one community. And today, the Year of the Laity offers us a grace-filled opportunity to rethink conversion and discipleship, faith and worship, liturgy and spiritual renewal, and allocation of resources. Now is the time to ask: “How will we be faithful in this new age?” “How much am I willing to love …”