By Ryan Agcaoili
Special to the Herald
In my younger days, when I served as youth ministry coordinator at my parish, pastoral councils didn’t pique my interest. Too many numbers, too much talk of past news, and not enough of what can be done to help our parishioners grow in their Catholic faith and strengthen their relationship with Christ. They felt more like a finance council meeting than a pastoral council. I always wondered if it was necessary to even be at these meetings.
During this most recent Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) meeting, Bishop Larry Silva challenged us to have the kinds of discussions that would encourage spiritual growth among the faithful in our parishes. Finances and building maintenance discussions are necessary, but there are other councils to deal with those subjects.
So what exactly then is the role of a pastoral council? We discussed that and concluded that our role is to advise the bishop so that he can make informed decisions on what is the best course of action for the Diocese of Honolulu. In order to advise the bishop, our hope then is to discuss things such as liturgy and worship, sacramental preparation, evangelizing, and other such topics. Hopefully, this will encourage similar discussions among the vicariates and parishes. The hope is we are better able to understand how each parish community feels about these topics.
This is an opportunity for each and every one of you. You may not be on your parish pastoral council, but you are an important person in our church, an essential person in the Body of Christ. Bishop Silva recognizes that there is a long way to go, and a lot to accomplish. He also recognizes there are so many saintly, wonderful and faithful people in this diocese who have a lot to share.
Oh, by the way, for all the young adults out there reading this: That same opportunity is also yours. You are the future of the Catholic Church. You are the future of the Diocese of Honolulu. Believe it or not, that future is now. You want the church to better serve you, so let bishop know how. Let your parish priests and your pastoral councils know what you would like to do.
There will come a day when you may be asked to be a part of a pastoral council. Whether it be at the parish level, or even the diocesan level, you won’t be just a part of something. You might just be the catalyst. Or you could be the instrument Jesus needs. If you are moved by the Holy Spirit to take on such a role, let your priest or pastoral council know.
This upcoming year looks to be a challenging year, but it also looks promising for the Diocese of Honolulu. Keep praying, keep serving, and keep being a witness to Jesus, to all our family and friends!
Ryan Agcaoili is the West Honolulu representative in the Diocesan Pastoral Council.