FAITH MATTERS: Looking after the wellbeing of communities

From a historical perspective one figure that stands out as a leader in pastoral work is Pope or Saint Gregory the Great.

Pastoral work expressed in care for others has been central to the Church’s life from its earliest days. The core premise that evolved was the belief to love God and also to love our neighbour, just as Jesus taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

The word pastor comes from the Latin word for shepherd. Pastoral ministry is the ministry of shepherding God’s people. It’s a leadership picture that uses the image of the shepherd to describe the roles and responsibilities of those who lead God’s people.

From a historical perspective one figure that stands out as a leader in pastoral work is Pope or Saint Gregory the Great. One of Pope Gregory's most famous literary works written around 590CE is the treatise, Pastoral Care (also known in Latin as Liber Regulae Pastoralis), a four-book exposition that offers quintessential guidelines for priests and bishops on how to wisely and biblically lead their churches and how to morally manage their lives. For Gregory, the office of pastor existed for the benefit of his flock, not the reverse, which he saw happening far too often in medieval society. It is no wonder that the Gregorian chant was named after this man as his philosophy and theology sit at the heart of human concern as does the melody of the chants that nourish the soul.

Pastoral care describes ministry whether it be by ordained or lay people which is concerned with the wellbeing of communities and individuals. The undergirding theme of pastoral care is characterized by the Hebrew word shalom. This is usually translated as peace, but in fact it is much more. God gives shalom, it weaves the individual and the community inseparably together and is discovered through relationship. Shalom is a practical concept it should be down to earth as it is concerned with people’s lives as they are lived.

There are many opportunities when shalom is lived out in the community and the church supports a variety of projects that are making a difference in people's lives.

This week Pastoral Ministries will be holding its inaugural Pastoral Placement Program Alumni Dinner. Since 2015 the program has seen 36 people experience a variety of different ministries across the diocese. This has enabled the participants to discern their path in future ministries.

The Pastoral Placement Program provides people with the opportunity to explore their God given gifts in a safe and nurturing environment. This year-long program is about self-discovering in the company of others. Life is about finding meaning and purpose and the Pastoral Placement Program provides participants with the opportunity to explore their purpose through a number of formation opportunities while experiencing work/ministry in several settings across our diocese.

The program is an exciting opportunity to discern the voice of the Spirit in life and to share your gifts, hopes and ideas as a source of renewal for yourself and your local church.

We are excited to hear where the PPP Alumni are now and the impact this unique program has had on their lives.

Applications are now open for the 2023 Pastoral Placement Program

For more information and to learn to how to apply go to:

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