Many city Catholics are not willing to take up church activities in their parishes, going by the tepid participation in the ongoing pastoral elections across city parishes.
With the three-year term of pastoral councils (the lay bodies that assist the clergy in church and community activities) ending this month, the procedure to elect new councils has begun.
“No one is contesting the pastoral elections in my parish since most people don’t want to take up the duties and responsibilities part of the council,” said Father Vernon Aguiar, parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, Santacruz.
“Since no nominations came in, we persuaded the parishioners to list a few people who will then be directly inducted in the council,” he said.
Of the 20-member council at the church, there are only six new members, while the rest will continue their term. Each member can serve a maximum of two terms in the council.
Hectic work schedules and lack of interest in church activities were cited as the common reasons for the trend. “It becomes difficult to balance church duties with work and personal life, and it is better to not take up the responsibility,” said a 27-year-old Juhu-based parishioner who did not wish to be named.
“The response has been mediocre as many people don’t want to make commitments to carry out the duties of the council,” said Father Joe D’souza, parish priest, St Ignatius Church, Mahalaxmi, where only one nomination has come in so far.
However, some churches have received a good response. At the Immaculate Conception Church in Borivli, a 41-elected-member council has already been formed.
"We received nominations from all 41 sectors under our parish," said parish priest Father Barthol Barretto.