Another Post-Vatican Renewal Movements, started recently in the diocese and working under a Diocesan Chaplain, also has the same aim of renewing the Church by getting together in small Groups and Praying, sharing the word of God and forming close bond among the members.
Small Christian Communities
Following a common decision taken by the FABC at their fifth Plenary Assembly held in Bandung, in1990, the Church in Sri Lanka too has been trying to put into execution this programme, according to which “The Church in Asia is to be a communion of communities, gathered round the word of God, and all the Clergy,Religious and laity consider themselves as brothers and sisters, and where the gifts of the Holy Spirit are activated… it is a participatory Church? This programme is popularly known as the Asian Integral Approach (AsIPA)
The diocese of Chilaw to has, from the beginning trying out this, but met with many difficulties esp.the lack of understanding on the part of the Clergy and their lack of interest, because it is a “new way of being Church? However in recent times due to the interest and enthusiasm of the Diocesan Coordinators, it has started to grow and is now spread to most of the parishes. The formation of SCC’s was chosen as one of the
Priorities in the Pastoral Programme of the diocese
How it functions
- The neighbourhood Group meets weekly in any convenient place, under a trained leader and this leadership keeps rotating
- Reading of the Bible aloud and devoutly, and sharing of what the reading meant to each individual – not a scholarly expose but how the word has touched the individual is shared
- Spontaneous prayers are offered for various intentions of the group and of the parish
- Some service to those who need is discussed and work planned for the coming week
- There is a spirit of freedom and mutual trust, openness is built up in the group
- They also organize the Parish Liturgy in a meaningful way.
- The feelings of isolation disappears and a new feeling of togetherness and belonginness grows. Thus the community grows
- Groups of such communities come together to form the parish community, which is now quite active and alive,
As mentioned earlier, priests who have understood the usefulness of the SSC’s are very anxious to promote them. A little extra trouble taken to form them at the beginning brings rich dividends.