Honiara (Fides Service) – To discuss a new pastoral plan, formation of catechists, commitment for education and promotion of women: these were some of the questions faced at a week long Pastoral Council meeting in Honiara archdiocese which closed on 29 June after days of fruitful discussion, debate and prayers. The meeting was attended by more than 140 delegates from all the islands, priests, laity and representatives of 12 religious congregation, mostly women, a positive sign for the local Church which lives in a society still rigidly chauvinist.
In fact one of the urgent needs addressed was how to promote respect for the dignity and rights of women. The assembly agreed that this question must be part of education in schools, teaching of catechism, preaching and conversation. The participants at the Meeting were divided in ten discussion groups to examine various questions on the agenda in view of the elaboration of new pastoral guidelines for the archdiocese.
The Council, an important event for the formation of pastoral workers, was attended also by youth delegates. “We feel we truly share in the work of building up the Church” said one young girl delegate who is preparing to take part in the 20th World Youth Day in Germany (Cologne) in 2005.
One of the catechists taking part said the Council meeting “was a strong sign of communion for our Catholic community in the third millennium. I am glad that the Church is committed to promoting recognition of the rights of women and encouraging women to take a more active part in the Church”.
The local Church said it is also ready to help overcome the economic crisis and social tension in Solomon Islands at present. The government has in fact called for a multi-national force to restore law and order in the crime ridden country fearing outbreaks of serious disorder as in 2000. PA (Fides Service 4/7/2003 EM lines 23 Words: 329)