DIOCESAN PASTROAL PLAN, SHIMOGA
"Be my witness"
Amidst the present day’s changing world order, the voice of the Risen Christ echoes anew in the heart of every Christian: “Be My Witnesses” (Acts 1:8). Certain of the unfailing help of Jesus and the presence and the power of His Spirit, the apostles set out immediately after Pentecost to fulfil this command. Blessed with the gift of faith, the Church, even after two thousand years, continues to goout to meet the people of the world in order to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ. She is a community aflame with missionary zeal to make Jesus known, loved and followed.
The entire Church is missionary, and evangelisation is the duty of the People of God (AG 2 & 35). The mission is one and indivisible, having one origin and one final purpose, but within it there are different responsibilities and different activities. In every case, it is clear that there can be no true proclamation of the Gospel unless Christians offer the witness of lives in harmony with the message they preach (RM 31). The first form of witness is the very life of the missionary, of the Christian family, and of the Ecclesial Community, which reveal a new way of living. Everyone in the Church, striving to imitate the Divine Master, can and must bear this kind of witness.
In many cases it is the only possible way of being a missionary. “People today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories. People are more persuaded by holiness of life than by intellectual argument” (RM 42). The experience of faith and of the gifts of the Holy Spirit thus becomes the basis of all missionary work in towns, villages, schools, hospitals, among the handicapped, migrants, tribal’s and in the pursuit of justice and human rights.
The Church in Shimoga strives with equal zeal to serve as a witness of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. The Church in Shimoga is all the more eager for the task of proclamation knowing that through the working of the Holy Spirit, there already exists in every individual an expectation, though an unconscious one, of knowing the truth about God, about man and about how we are to be set free from sin and death (RM 45). To bear witness to Christ is the supreme service which the Church can offer to the people of Shimoga, for it responds to their profound longing for the Absolute and it unveils the values which will ensure their overall human development.
EVOLING A PLAN TO BE WITNESSES
In order to understand the words of Christ our Lord, “Be my Witnesses,” to realise its challenges and to unravel its hidden mysteries, all the faithful of the Diocese found it necessary to examine and assess the present situation of the Church in Shimoga. This was done through a definite and time bound procedure of consultation and deliberation. A house to house scientific socio-economic survey was conducted and the data was processed and tabulated by experts.
At the deanery level meetings of diocesan priests and religious convoked by the diocesan Bishop the need for a pastoral plan for the Diocese was discussed at length and the process was initiated. Later, at C.R.I. level consultation, the collaboration of religious in the progress of the Diocese and subsequently in the pastoral plan was discussed. The parish level consultation in which all the faithful participated, a patient hearing was given to their desires and aspirations which in turn became the strong basis for the pastoral plan
The tabulated data and the outcome of the three levels of consultation namely, deanery, C.R.I. and parish were presented to the Council of Priests. The Council of Priests formed a drafting committee, which studied the matter and prepared a draft making use of the data and resources. This tentative draft was tabled before the Council of Priests. After cetain minor alterations, the Council of Priests opined that the draft should once again go back to the deanery level.
In the deanery level meetings the convener of the drafting committee presented the draft and the useful suggestions were incorporated into the draft. This reworked document was again presented before the Council of Priests which approved it unanimously. Finally, it was presented to the diocesan Bishop by the drafting committee for his study and necessary action.
The Church in Shimoga, having been edified by the dedication, commitment and response of all who prayed, discussed and deliberated the theme of this Pastoral Plan – “Be My Witnesses,” for the renewal of Shimoga Diocese and its mission, is absolutely certain that the Spirit has been the moving force behind all this effort. Encouraged by the hope generated by this Pastoral Plan, filled with enthusiasm to live its vocation and carry out the mission in a spirit of collaboration and humility, the Church in Shimoga is resolved to give witness to our Lord in the families, parishes, institutions, apostolates and ministries.
This Pastoral Plan stands as a milestone in the life of the Diocese of Shimoga. It has made us deeply aware of where we are today and how we need to move towards the goal of becoming true witnesses to Our Lord. This Pastoral Plan marks a fresh beginning on this journey. It will energise us to move ahead, steadily and resolutely in solidarity with all men and women of good will in the realisation of our vision – “To be HisWitnesses.”
DECREE OF THE PASTORAL PLAN
Shimoga- 577 204
Karanataka - INDIA
Considering the importance of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan in presenting the Gospel rooted vision to guide the mission of the particular Church and for consolidating pastoral programmes and recognizing the Plan as an efficient pastoral instrument for renewing structures, for mobilizing human-spiritual resources of the Diocese for promoting ecclesial communion and mission through cooperation and co-responsibility.
Praising and thanking the Lord for His many spiritual gifts and insights showered upon everyone who participated enthusiastically in the process of pastoral planning that took into account human reality, theological reflection and the pastoral action; and remembering with appreciation the wholehearted collaboration and constant good will of all laity, religious and clergy who, serving in the various ecclesial bodies in the Diocese, took part in the diverse stages of pastoral consultation and planning.
+ Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo
Bishop of Shimoga
THE RESULT OF THE PASTORAL PLAN
It is mainly the realization of the dream of New Way of Being Church, which Blessed Pope John Paul II had envisioned. Every Parish and Mission Station of the Diocese has vibrant Small Christian Communities where the clergy, religious and laity strive to build up the Kingdom of God, as a participatory Church.
The Vision, Mission and Goal of the Diocese has been spelt out in the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, ‘Be My Witnesses’.
Empowerment of the laity through Diocesan Pastoral Council, Parish Pastoral Council, Parish Finance Committee, Catholic Association, Women’s Association and Society of St. Vincent De Paul in every Parish.
Capacity building through constant Diocesan and Deanery level training programmes for various age-groups of priests, religious, children, women, youth and lay leaders. Regular interaction with the laity through Pastoral Visits and Seminars, to develop a rapport with the laity and consequently a revival of Faith.
Establishment of 18 Commissions for diversified service in the Diocese, each Commission having its own specific Goal, Objectives and Action Plan in tune with the Diocesan Pastoral Plan has contributed largely to rapid progress of the Diocese.
Promotion of education for the poor and marginalised by starting educational institutions, boardings and hostels in rural areas along with the Integrated Child Development Programme to support the education of economically backward children financially.
Providing adequate infrastructure – for Churches, Parish Houses, Schools, Community Centres, Health Centres, etc.
THE PASTORAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE DIOCESE
Developmental and Evangelization Programmes done in Shimoga Diocese
The Diocese of Shimoga has undertaken various developmental programs through The Shimoga Multipurpose Social Service Society (SMSSS), in three civil districts of Shimoga, Davangere and Chitradurga. It has reached more than 627 villages of 187 Grama Panchayaths of three districts through its various developmental interventions.
We have been able to reach more than 20,000 women through formation of 1200 Self Help Groups, 150 cluster federations and 19 Block federations. Around 2100 women have emerged as successful micro entrepreneurs through the ‘Women in Micro-Enterprise’ program. 1,392 destitute and the most marginalized families have attained self-sufficiency and 300 families are on their way to achieve the same through ‘Save a Family Plan’ – family sponsorship program.
2,730 children from very poor families have been sponsored for their entire education through Integrated Child Development Program (ICDP) out of which 1,155 have completed their education successfully. 1,575 children are availing the benefits of this program. 320 students have availed our support for Scholarship for Higher Education Program - Unnati - of which 202 have successfully completed their higher education and 118 are pursuing their higher education. 500 school dropout youth have completed their secondary school education. The Disha – Career Advancement Cell has been promoting meritorious youth. 10 youth have completed their intensive coaching in New Delhi and Bangalore. 9 have appeared for KAS exams and 18 students have appeared for NTSE. 343 school drop-out unemployed youth have been given skill training on tailoring, beautician, plumbing, masonry, organic farming etc. through Vocational Skill Training Program (VSTP). They have been also motivated through EDP and EAP trainings.
Human Resource Management:
We have been working in 5 Grama Panchayaths of Hosanagar organized 900 small and marginalized farmers in the SHG and have formed a Farmer’s Body. Thandagunda village in Shikaripura Taluk has been developed through integrated community development project.
Promotion of Good Governance:
We have been working in 10 grama panchayaths of Hosanagara and Thirthahalli to promote good governance, accountability and transparency in the local governance. 10 civil forums have been formed and are functioning well, for the welfare of their Grama panchayaths.
Health and Development:
We have been also working for resilience towards HIV/AIDS in the City of Shimoga and 6 Grama Panchayaths. More than 500 PLHIVs have been identified for regular counseling, nutritional and referral services. Support group meetings have been conducted for the HIV positive, once a month. They have been supported to mobilize the Government schemes regularly.
Through SMSSS we have been building the capacities of both the grass root level NGOs and community based organizations through various tailor made workshops, seminars and Certificate course in Community Development. We have trained more than 78 Grass root NGOs. 56 students have completed their course in Community Development.