DIIPA — Enlightening the Path of the ‘New Way’

The MAGNA CHARTA of  “NEW WAY OF BEING Church”

The FABC (Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conferences) in Bandung, Indonesia in 1990 stated that the “Church in Asia will have to be a Communion of many small communities, in which the clergy, laity and religious accept each other as brothers and sisters”. FABC also emphasized the importance of ‘WORD’ in the life of the community which must become a witnessing and evangelizing community in the neighbourhood.
Authentic spirituality of the New Way is the whole group of believers in a certain neighbourhood ‘follow-Jesus-in-Mission’, within their life context. The small community, gathered around the Word is led by the Spirit to a deep experience of the Risen Lord who inspires and enables them to continue his mission in the neighbourhood.

1. THE BEGINNINGS :

Bishop Oswald Hirmer, one of the visionaries of the Lumko Small Christian Communities programme of South Africa, prepared Training Programmes to promote this vision of the church given by the Asian Bishops, in the Asian countries. He called these training programmes ‘AsIPA’ (Asian Integral Pastoral Approach).

Since 1995 this programme is used in India widely and translated into more than 13 Indian languages - Hindi, Oriya, Malayalam, Marathi, Angami, Tamil, Sadiri, Konkani, Bodo, Khasi, Santhali, Bengali and Kannada.

Rev Fr. Thomas Vijay  SAC. who was the Secretary of CBCI commission for Laity, took up this ministry and coordinated with directors of various dioceses and formed an AsIPA core team in India. This core team met regularly and many programmes were organized to train, promote and motivate animator. The Indian Coordinators meeting in Sept-2001 at Pallottine Animation Centre, Nagpur, adapted this programmes to the Indian context and gave this programme an Indian name DIIPA (Developing Indian Integral Pastoral Approach).

Many other dioceses in Asia and Europe have adapted the DIIPA Programmes for building small communities. Some diocese in Europe like Germany have adapted the DIIPA programmes into the German context. Countries like Taiwan, South Korea have also been using DIIPA programmes. Participants from Sri Lanka  have come many times to India and they too use DIIPA programmes to promote SCCs. Apart from this DIIPA programmes are being used in Thailand and  Indonesia.

2.  THE DIIPA JOURNEY :

Since 2001 we have vigorously promoted the New Way of being Church in  India and  abroad. We organized many national and international workshops on promoting the New Way through building SCCs. We have coordinated with almost all the 12 ecclesiastical regions of India. We have helped a number of dioceses to establish and sustain SCCs by offering our assistance in the form of resource people and materials.

At the centre we have coordinated with various DIIPA Teams members to produce new materials and future undertakings. Our yearly national coordination programme ‘MISSION IN COMMUNION’ has been well received by various diocesan directors who attend it and are benefited by it. This is one of the programmes which is organized regularly at our centre. DIIPA has been instrumental in organizing ‘40 days SCC Pastoral Theological Course’ the first of its type in the country for 6th consecutive year. There has been a good response to and over 150 priest, religious, lay faithful from India and abroad have found it fruitful.

DIIPA also coordinates with other dioceses and make available resource material and animators for regional workshops. Here at the centre we translate the text in the official national language for the use of the majority. The ‘THINK TANK’ of DIIPA i.e. the DIIPA Core Team meets at regular intervals to design and discuss new endeavourers. 

DIIPA Vision

In the breaking of the Word and the commemoration of the self giving of Jesus that we celebrate in the Eucharist on a Sunday we shall continue to live out his Spirit of loving and sharing in our neighbourhood

DIIPA Mission

Transform all parishes in India into a communion of small communities.

Design and conduct awareness programmes in order to propagate the small Christian community way of living.

 

3. DIIPA FORMATION — AN INTEGRATIVE PROCESS:

 

DIIPA formation is a process of building skilled animators for facilitating Christians to move from the old way to the NEW WAY OF BEING CHURCH, through SCCs, as visualized by the Asian Bishops (FABC Bandung Statement, 1990, no.8).

The formation includes :
DIIPA Theory.
DIIPA Practice.
DIIPA  Spirituality.
DIIPA Animation Skills.
DIIPA Networking.

The formation is continuous and integrative, worked out in several stages:

DIIPA Introductory Workshop.
DIIPA  Team Training.
DIIPA Spirituality.
DIIPA Vision - The New Way of Being Church.
DIIPA Immersion  Programme.
SCCs and Adult Catechesis.
Building Emergent Leadership.
SCCs and Evangelization.
New Wine in New Wineskins– Building Facilitative Pastoral Structures
Pastoral Theological Seminar on SCCs
SCCs and Families
SCCs are Eucharistic Communities

 

4. DIIPA METHODOLOGY:

The DIIPA text are Indian adaptation of AsIPA text and approved by the DIIPA editorial team. DIIPA Texts are compiled for Christian men and women at the grass root level of the parish. They can be conducted most fruitfully in Small Christian Communities, Neighbourhood communities, Parish Pastoral Council or any other small groups in the parish. DIIPA Texts can also be used with larger groups, e.g. in the parish hall - provided the ‘participatory method’ is maintained in smaller working groups.

Features of the ‘ DIIPA  Approach ’

1. DIIPA TEXTS adopt a ‘Participatory Approach’ in which all the participants a group search together and discover for themselves as far as they are able to.

2. The text are compiled in such a way that the facilitator can easily use them with SUFFICIENT Preparation.

3. The facilitator is requested to follow the text as closely as possible and allow the participants to contribute when indicated in the text.

4. The facilitator is not content with one answer to a question but he/she encourages as many participants as possible to search for an answer. ‘Buzz groups’ of 2/3 are helpful to achieve maximum participation.

5. The SUPPLEMENT can help to the findings of the participants and summarize them.

Each word in DIIPA has special Theological - Pastoral - Spiritual connotation

Developing : We speak of ‘Developing’ because we want to remind ourselves and the pastoral workers in India that no pastoral programme is final. The spirit is always present and active in the community, renewing, challenging and transforming the community continuously, helping the community to respond in the Kingdom way to the changing situations and needs of the people in different places and times.

Indian: We place the vision given by the Asian Bishops in the Indian situation. We want to empower the people of India to respond to this vision together as a people from within their life context. In this way they make this vision their own and take the responsibility to realize it in their life.

Integral: We seek the integral growth of the whole person, integrating body and soul, secular and sacred, theory and practice, faith and life, clergy and laity into one body.

Pastoral: Our concern is to enable our people to re-dream the dream of Jesus in their life context and respond together to it in their neighbourhood. In this way they become instrumental in God’s revealing the Indian face of Jesus among the people of India.

Approach: DIIPA is an approach, one way to serve the kingdom plan of God, but a very effective and biblical way. This approach has certain characteristics.

 

 

It is Christ - centered. We emphasize on Gospel Sharing as the way the community discerns God’s will for them in their life situations and act according to it. All our lessons are rooted in the Word of God as a source of life and light for their lives.
 
It is community-centered: We want to move away from the ‘expert centered’ approach to pastoral programmes to ‘the community- centered’ pastoral programmes. Here, the expert sits with the people, listens to them and lets them participate with him in making the kind of programmes they want to have. In this way we affirm that ‘the Church is the People of God’. The so called expert is a servant/animator of the community.
 
In the future Church, as the Asian Bishops said, the experts and leaders are not dominating leaders. They are not the focal point ; Jesus and the community are. It is the community which will work together and evangelize the neighbourhood to make the Kingdom of God present there. The leaders and pastoral experts are servants and animators of the community.
 
It is mission oriented : The Church by its very nature is missionary (AG-2). The SCCs activate the gifts and charisms of the Church in the neighbourhood to realize the kingdom in their local context. As individual and as a community the SCC tries to live a missionary community by being fully alive and active body of Christ.
 
Rev. Fr. Thomas Vijay SAC, DIIPA Coordinator,
Pallottine Animation Centre, Post Box No. 18,  Pallotti Nagar, 
Mankapur  Gorewada , Ring Road, Nagpur- 440013, State—Maharashtra.
Country— INDIA.PHONE– 0712-2581255, 2581744, 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

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