The 3rd Millennium marked a new milestone in the Pastoral journey of Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) Parish as the Kota Kinabalu Diocese decided to rename and transform all Diocesan Parish Councils (PC) to Parish Pastoral Councils (PPC) to be relevant and to focus on Parish Pastoral concerns and issues in line with the Vatican Council II guidelines.
This transition of Parish Council to Parish Pastoral Council started the process of Parish Pastoral learning and building in SHC Parish and among the committees set up by SHC PPC were the Tender and Finance committees, Human Resource Management Committee and Social Committee to take care of social events and programs in the Parish. The scope of work for the Social Committee then was only involved in planning and organizing social gatherings for the Parish level events such as Parish priest anniversary, ordination of deacons and priest and major feast days of Easter and Christmas.
Over the next 5 years with the dynamic organic growth, Information and Communication Technology advancement and pastoral maturing of the Parish, the need to communicate on Parish Social issues to all the Parishioners become more and more imminent and inevitable as the Parish started to engage in Parish Discernment Weekend (PDW) to discuss Parish Pastoral issues and concerns since 2001.
From a series of PDW from 2001 to 2005, SHC Parish has been learning and discerning on the roles, Tasks and functions of Pastoral Council. By PDW 2006, a most significant milestone in the Parish Pastoral journey of SHC Parish was set out as the Parish had a major Pastoral Planning Breakthrough during the PDW from 30th August -2nd September where Strategic Parish Pastoral Planning was conducted involving a total of 130 key Parish group leaders with their Parish priest, Clergy and Religious seeking and focusing on (1) Parish Pastoral Priorities (PPP) and (2) Charting out SHC Parish Pastoral Direction in line, in spirit, in form and in substance of Diocesan Organizational Pastoral Plan (DOPP).
Towards the end of PDW 2006, the 130 delegates together with the Parish Priest, Clergy and Religious of SHC Parish had consensually identified & derived SHC Parish top 3 Parish Pastoral Priorities (PPP) which are: (1) Family issues (2) Catholic Faith Formation. (3) Reaching out to all Parishioners especially the estimated 80% non-active ones.
With the top 3 PPP identified and acknowledged, SHC PPC and the Parish Priest had in October 2006 assigned the late Datuk Terence Chong and tasked him to form the Parish Social Communication Committee (SOCCOM) to initiate the formidable task of communicating Parish Social issues and concerns through this Committee as the Parish Channel to the Parishioners as per the guide lines drawn out by the SOCCOM Commission of the KK Diocese.
INITIAL SETTING UP
From November 2006 to 28th March 2008, a series of 8 meetings were held to learn, to form and to understand this SOCCOM concept, its role, scope, tasks and functions as per “Inter Mirifica”, the Decreed of the Second Vatican Council on the means of Social Communication and guidelines dated 4th December, 1963 and the Pastoral Instruction “AETATIS NOVAE” on Social Communications on the 20th Anniversary of COMMUNIO ET PROGRESSIO.
There was a short break for SOCCOM as the PPC term for 2006- 2008 expired in June 2008. By September 2008, the new PPC (2008 -2010) took office and appointed Mr. Justin Culas to head the SHC Parish SOCCOM taking over from the late Datuk Terence Chong.
Another series of meetings were held from November 2008 to 2nd July 2009 to firm up SOCCOM until end August when Mr. Justin Culas was transferred to Miri to work and he had to relinquish his SOCCOM post and the PPC.
After a few months of sourcing and searching, the PPC and Parish Priest could not find a replacement among the PPC members to head this committee as no PPC members were forth coming to take over this portfolio.
During the PDW 2009 at the Bundu Tuhan retreat centre from 15th October to 17th October, a resolution was tabled, approved and adopted for the Parish/ PPC to revive, to follow up and to see through the proper setting and firming up of SHC Parish SOCCOM.
PDW 2009 noted that despite SHC Parish being a vibrant, dynamic and active parish, SOCCOM or previously known as “Social, Publicity and Information” Committee at the Parish level has never been strong and have much room to improve and to be desired. More importantly, as Reaching out to all our SHC Parishioners is 1 of the top 3 PPP, there is this most urgent and important need to reach out, to communicate, to disseminate pastoral issues, information and concerns effectively, efficiently, relevantly and pastorally via SOCCOM to all SHC Parishioners.
Acknowledging this, immediate invitations and appeals were made to all PDW 2009 delegates to take up this challenge to head this committee. Despite repeated appeals no positive response and committal were forth coming from the delegates. This left the PPC Chairman then Dr. Damian Lee with little option but pledged to take up the task to rejuvenate, reorganize, reform and set up the Parish SOCCOM for the remaining 6 months of the PPC 2008-2010 term.
On 30th November 2009, the 1st meeting of 13 participants was held to revive, to rejuvenate and to reorganize the Parish SOCCOM committee. Most importantly and urgently the meeting resolved to look into the terms of reference for SOCCOM. This has to be drafted out, deliberated, discussed, discerned, approved and adopted before appointing SOCCOM Core Team and allocation of duties and Portfolio.
During the 2nd SOCCOM meeting on 20th January, 2010, the delegates had a brain storming session on the proposed terms of reference (TOR) for SHC Parish Social Communication Committee (SOCCOM). This was eventually compiled, drafted and refined before being presented to the Parish priest, Msgr. Primus and PPC for approval.
After two months of study, discussion and deliberation the Parish priest and PPC approved the TOR for SOCCOM during the PPC meeting on 5th March, 2010.
The approved Terms Of Reference for SHC Parish SOCCOM are detailed as follows:
In response to the Parish Discernment Weekend (PDW) 2009 resolution with regard to one of the top 3 Parish Pastoral Priority (PPP) – Reaching out to parishioners – a parish level Social Communication Committee has to be properly formed to reach out to all Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) parishioners pastorally via the various forms of media focusing on the 3 PPP and in line, form, spirit and substance in the pursuit and realization of the vision and mission of the Diocese (DOPP).
- To rejuvenate, build and develop an effective, efficient, relevant and committed Parish Social Communication Committee of and for the SHC Parish to reach out Pastorally to all parishioners via the various forms of media including the multimedia which is crucial to reach out to the younger generations.
- To optimize and tap into this new, cost effective and speedy dimension of information dissemination within and among our SHC Parishioners so that the so-called 80% non-participative or non-group majority parishioners are being well and properly informed on what the Parish plans to do, when, where & how these shall be implemented.
- To serve as a coordinating body/ linkage on Parish level pastoral matters and issues with the Diocesan SOCCOM commission.
- To create a sense of care & personal touch and link with SHC Parishioners to instill a sense of identity & belonging to the SHC Parish – new approach of being church.
C. SOCCOM STRUCTURE:
C.1 The Chairman of Parish SOCCOM committee/ Core Team shall be a PPC member appointed by Rector/PPC. A deputy head is to be elected/ appointed as well to deputize as and when necessary especially awaiting for the new appointed PPC member to take over as chairman when PPC terms of office expires (PPC term of office is only 2 years while SOCCOM is 3 years for continuity purposes. However, from 2012 onwards, the PPC term of office has changed to 3 years).
C.2 The number of members for the SOCCOM committee shall be at least 14 mature and practicing Catholic parishioners – 12 (Twelve) from SHC and 2 (Two) from Sub-Parish of Church of Mary Immaculate with SHC Parish Manager, PFPN and PYPC Coordinators and 2 (Two) religious as ex official.
Deputy Chairman – Social Communication
Deputy Chairman – PR & IT
9 Committee Members (7 from SHC and 2 from CMI)
The number of members from PPP/ZONE/GROUPS/YOUTH shall be 3 for each to represent the 3 language groups & 1 from sign language people making a total of 13.
Term of Office
A minimum commitment of 3 years for SOCCOM COMMITTEE and 2 years for Zone/PPP/Groups/Youth Liaison Coordinators, and my be re-appointed for an additional term with at least half the number of existing members to ensure consolidation and continuity.
D. DECISION MAKING PROCESS
The decision making process of SOCCOM shall be by consensus and with the approval of the Parish Priest.
E. WORKING PRINCIPLES
- To discern and understand the pastoral nature, process and objectives of all parish level issues/matters/concerns/events/programs.
- To draw up Portfolio (advertising, publicity, photography, reporting, editing, webmaster etc) and to appoint competent member to head each portfolio.
- To formulate policies on what can and can’t be published and form a panel to vet through all articles/news/features to be published or upload to web site.
- To assign tasks and draw up work schedule.
- Catechesis and publicity.
- Formation and Education.
- SHC Parish Manager, PFPN and PYPC Coordinators are to liaise and coordinate vertically and horizontally in the structure.
With the approved TOR, SHC Parish SOCCOM held a meeting on 31st March 2010 to adopt this Terms of Reference officially. This marked the last SOCCOM meeting for PPC term 2008-2010 as the PPC was dissolved on 6th June, 2010.
SOCCOM SECOND BREAK
This second break for SOCCOM occurred during the PPC term from August 2010 – August 2012, as nothing much seemed to have moved or happened to Parish SOCCOM during this tenure.
SOCCOM 2ND REVIVAL
With the current PPC term installed (from August 2012-2015), the Parish Priest, Msgr. Primus appointed PPC Chairman to head and lead the Parish SOCCOM with the earnest hope to revive and build up this portfolio of concern. The 1st meeting for this new SOCCOM was held on 22nd October 2012.
SHC PARISH OFFICIAL WEBSITE
During this 1st meeting the delegates revisited the TOR for SOCCOM and among others agreed and resolved to jump start the revival and reformation of SOCCOM with the launching of the long awaited official website for SHC Parish.
It is gratifying to note that by the 4th SOCCOM meeting in February 2013, the major historical obstacles, barriers and constraints were managed, addressed and resolved for the setting up of a brand new official website for SHC Parish bearing a new domain name of sacredheartcathedralkk.org
The proposed design, identity, layout, domain name, technicalities and homepage were compiled and drafted for tabling at the PPC meeting on 4th March 2013. This was promptly approved and the Parish Priest, Msgr. Primus and PPC agreed that a grand launching of this new official website on Sacred Heart Parish Feast Family day, 9th June 2013 which is a Sunday for all parishioners to come, witness and participate in this history defining event.
LAUNCHING OF SHC PARISH WEBSITE
The key objective is to optimize and tap into this new, speedy and powerful dimension of information dissemination within, between and among our SHC Parishioners so that all Parishioners especially the estimated 80% non-participative or non-group majority parishioners and others can and shall have access to accurate, relevant, proper and up-to-date information on all pastoral processes, issues, doable events and Parish Pastoral Priorities which the Parish plans to do, entailing the what, when, where and how these shall be implemented.
With and when this information dissemination and follow up actions can and should bring about transformation, change and conversation, this noble and modest role of communication for communion and evangelization shall be manifested and realized.
When this website is fully developed with wholehearted and wholesome participation from all 45 SHC Parish groups and 9 from CMI, this shall act as our archives and “Pastoral Encyclopedia” for SHC Parish with historical and founding pioneers’ background and details of the Jesselton Sacred Heart Mission from the founding year of 1903 to where, what and who we are today as SHC Parish.
We invite everyone and anyone of SHC Parishioners, Parish leaders and groups, friends and relatives to come, witness and participate in this simple but grand launching during the Sacred Heart Parish Family feast day on 9th June, 2013 at 10.30 am with plenty of food, music, fun, games, fellowship and family spirit and joy.
INVITATION TO ALL TALENTED PARISHIONERS TO JOIN SOCCOM
We appeal and urge all Parishioners who are gifted and passionate in social communication to come forward to join SOCCOM to offer and contribute your time and ideas as the scope of work for SOCCOM is immense, divest, huge and vary. This official website launching is only our first modest head start to give publicity and awareness to all parishioners on our duty and mission of baptized Cathedral to reach out and evangelize in your place of work, study, play and live.
I hope and pray that all the parish family members from the Parish Priest, Clergy, Religious, PPC, Parish groups’ and ministries’ leaders, Parish Staff and Parishioners would continue to response, to collaborate and be co-responsible in making our website worthy of a powerful evangelization tool of faith, hope and love to all those who log on.
Thank you and God bless
Dr. Damian Lee
SHC Parish Pastoral Council Chairman 2012-2015