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Scripture Based Seminar on Parish Ministry

By Fr. Tarcisius Toppo
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Dimapur, Jun. 28. A one-day seminar on Parish Ministry, was organized at Don Bosco Provincial House, Dimapur, on 28 June, for priests actively involved in Pastoral Ministry in the region with the aim of equipping them with fresh knowledge and skill, and rejuvenate them to carry out their ministry in an effective manner.
Fr. Jose Varikasseril, SDB, professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong, and a dynamic and energetic missionary in the Khasi hills, well versed in many local as well as foreign languages, animated the 20 participants from the parishes in Dimapur Province. Being a Biblical scholar, the animator based himself entirely on the scriptures to validate the work of evangelization and catechesis.
In the first session, Fr. Jose, pointed the seven imageries of a Pastor as given by St. Paul in his letter to Timothy - Good soldier, an athlete, hardworking farmer, approved workman, vessel meant for noble use, servant, an apt teacher. In the second session he dealt with the type or sorts of labourers as demanded by Jesus through his words and deeds in the Gospel of St. Mathew - a missionary who is a friend who reaches out to everyone making no distinction on grounds of caste, creed, sex, being available, sensitive with values and principles and priorities. Moving from the Gospels, he further expounded the concerted effort at diffusing the Good News from the Lukan concepts in the Acts of the Apostles - a community which chose leaders, a community that prayed together, shared together, worked together, stayed together.
Progressive proclamation of the word by Jesus as presented by St. Mark, in his Gospel narration was taken up in the afternoon session - the parable of the sower, parable of the light, parable of measure, parable of the mustard seed. Church Building in the Acts of Apostles with its characteristics - missionary activity as under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, witnessing as the central theme in the acts of the apostles, growth of the church as the task of everyone, proclamation as a round-the-clock activity, proclamation as done everywhere and directed towards everyone, importance to strengthening the community by spending time, sorting out problems, appointing leaders and genuine esteem of co-workers  - was another themes emphasising on the need for evangelization and catechesis.
The secret of success of Joseph, the Prince of Egypt was studied, stressing particularly the virtues and qualities he possessed - his multicultural background, filial piety towards his father, his equanimity in afflictions, human qualities, honesty and integrity, presence of Yahweh in his life. The Seminar concluded with the paradigms for catechesis and pastoral interventions as shown by St. Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth.
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