Questions have been asked about the Penang Diocesan Pastoral Institute (PDPI), lke “What is the PDPI?” or “Hey, what’s happeing at the PDPI?”
On 23rd November 1988, some priests, religious and lay people attended an initial meeting with Bishop Antony Selvanayagam to discuss about the ‘why’ and ‘how of a proposed Pastoral Institute. Then in April 1989, a handful of interested members came forward to assist Fr. K. Pathinathan (Director) in the area of organising, as well as in the work of coordinating, planing and evaluating. The early team members included: Br. Peter Foo FSC, Sr. Aidan Fitzgerald IJ, Sr. Felicity Tan FMDM, Fr. L Catel MEP, Fr. Clement Pereira, Miss Elizabeth Thomas, Sr. Margaret Pereira RQS and Bishop A. Selvanayagam (for one year).
The team met regularly for handling varous tasks. They began by clarifying the aim of the PDPI, which is to realise the pastoral vision of the diocese through Formation Programmes. Gradually, they moved on to:
1. recruitment of local resource personnel and facilitators for sessions, and
ii. coordinating of formation programmes carried out by various commissions, spiritual movements and district teams.
Some biblical, catechetical and spiritual courses were also organised and conducted, involving the team members of the PDPI as well as foreign resource personnel.
It was in 1991 that the PDPI actually began to respond concretely to the needs of parishes, districts and language groups in the area of formation programmes. By October, the team expanded with new members: Fr. Paul Chin, Miss Clare Lee and Mr A.S. Francis, who were to assist in the ‘specialised groups’ (RPP level 4). Eventually in 1992, the PDPI embarked on an eight subject programme with a 3-module system for each subject catering for the various language groups. Some teething problems are still being felt by the PDPI as the course go on.
Financial support is provided by the Diocesan Financial Committee. The PDPI office and secretariat is currently at Wisma Katolik. Future plans include: courses (district level) and on-going formation for lay leaders, priests, religious and specialised groups (e.g. youth and the different language groups).
The PDPI team welcomes suggestions for improvement in its services and looks forward with hope and trust in the Risen Lord as it strives to build his Kingdom in the Diocese of Penang.
– by Dr Steven Selvaraju
(The chart above is taken from the ‘Penang Diocesan News’ newsletter, Vol 15(3), May/June 1992)