Kaohisung, TAIWAN – Every five years in the Diocese of Kaohsiung, the Local Ordinary together with some members of his Presbyteral Council and the Treasurer of the Diocese conduct an official pastoral visit to each parish within the Diocese. The last of such visit happened in the year 2013.
The Parish of St. Joseph and Our Lady of Victory Parish, both in Xiaogang, the southernmost district in Kaohsiung City, welcomed Archbishop Peter Liu, D.D. and his companions at 8 o’clock in the evening of July 18 and 19, respectively, for their official pastoral visit.
The two parishes are under the pastoral care of Fray Joel Dequilla, OAR, as parish priest.
Programs during the visit
Archbishop Liu was accompanied by Msgr. Antony Huang, the vicar general of the Diocese of Kaohsiung, and Mrs. Susannah Hsu, the accountant of the diocese, during his visit to St. Joseph Parish.
In his pastoral visit to Our Lady of Victory Parish, the bishop was accompanied by Msgr. Alexander Tsao, the procurator of the diocese, and Mrs. Susannah Hsu.
During the visit to St. Joseph Parish, the Bishop and his companions were regaled by the kids, the youth as well as their catechism teachers with two action songs. Garbed in colourful St. Joseph T-shirts (courtesy of Fray Tagoy Jakosalem, OAR), they put a smile on the faces of the Bishop and all those who were present.
After the action songs, one of the kids led the prayer. Then after the group pictorial inside the Church, the members of St. Joseph Parish’s pastoral council with the bishop and his companions proceeded to the conference room where the official meeting began.
The following day at Our Lady of Victory Parish was raining cats and dogs. There were loud blasts from thunder and the roofs were pounded by burst of heavy rain. However, the bishop and the rest of the group arrived on time and the meeting went smoothly. After the meeting, calm was restored over the place despite intermittent drizzle.
Preparations before the visit
A full week prior to the official visit, each parish is required to submit to the Diocesan office a comprehensive report on the status of the Parish within five years after the last visit. The report must contain the following: (1) Financial report; (2) Significant events; (3) Property report (such as status of the land and church building, and the problems if there are). This area also includes cultural or historical things; (4) Pastoral activities, especially focused on evangelization and works of mercy. These include the calendar of activities for the year 2018; (5) Future plans; and (6) Requests or wishes addressed to the Bishop and/or concerned persons.
Besides the said report, the parish should also prepare the official books/records of the Parish which will be examined and signed by the Bishop upon his visit. The records/ books are the following: (a) Records on Baptism, (b) Records on Confirmation, (c) Records on Wedding, (d) Records on the Dead, and (e) Records on the number of Sunday Churchgoers as well as pastoral activities.
The Bishop’s fatherly role
The Bishop was gracious and solicitous in both his visits. It helped a lot that our official books and other pertinent records were in order. He asked some questions and offered advices on various things. Most important for him was how we lived our Christian Faith as witnesses in an environment where we are the minority. He emphasized that witnessing by way of living our Christian Faith is crucial for, if not one of the most important aspects of, evangelization.
He finished his pastoral visit with an assurance of his paternal solicitude, and with a prayer that we may continue on the path laid down by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit.
Fray Joel Gerada Dequilla, OAR
Parish Priest: St. Joseph Parish and Our Lady of Victory Parish