Father Albert Hisham – The Chaldean Patriarchate Media Administrator: Today, Friday 11 October 2013, for the first time in its history, a Pastoral Council was established within the Chaldean Diocese in Baghdad, having over forty faithful laity in addition to the parish priests, on the initiative of His Beatitude Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, who called for the assembly of the first meeting as of today morning in the Hall of The Cultural Center of St. Joseph Chaldean Church – Kherbendah .
In his opening speech to the Council, His Beatitude confirmed that the Christian “should have his head raised high and does not follow the introversion and scariness, but be characterized with courage”, wishing that these words to be the motto of this newly born Council, “otherwise, what is the meaning of our prayers if it did not grow within us the trust in God and not to be afraid of anything?”. Patriarch Sako explained the importance of teamwork in Church and for every member to feel that he is an “effective partner, where within the Church there is no more the mentality of ‘the power is within a certain group and the rest instantly obey her’, but everyone is to be involved in the Church to serve all”. His Beatitude described the user of power as a weak person, “where the strong, with his love and service, gives dignity to himself “.
His Beatitude mentioned some goals for this Council: The revitalization of the parish from the spiritual aspect, activating the role of the daily prayer in the parish, educating people in all respects and the development of social relationships, handling the responsibility for the management of financial affairs over to the laity, and consult them sometimes in administrative matters. In all these goals, everyone must feel that they are partners in the Church, and each one is a responsible administrator showing his point of view without stiffening but with complete flexibility.”
After His Beatitude’s speech, the laws on the institution of a parish council according to jurisprudence of the Eastern Churches were read, followed by a reading of the internal system of the Council, which was outlined by Patriarch Sako, and it included the definition of ‘The Parish’ and ‘The Committees of the Council’.
At the end, the attendees were divided into the following committees:
• The Cultural Committee which deals with the organization of seminars and lectures, and technical side,
• The Social and Service Committee that sets among its priorities to take care of the poor and the marginalized,
• The Finance Committee to help in the management and administration of the endowment of the Church,
• The Emergency Committee that was formed at the proposal of a Council member, where its members would investigate and follow situations such as ‘threats to the believers’, or ‘acquisition of some people over their homes’.
And, it was agreed on Friday, 15 November 2013 to be the date for the second meeting of the Council.