‘Personality clashes’ hinder unity in parishes

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Estelita Macalaguim, recipient of Pope Francis' Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice medal, after solemn investiture ceremonies held in her parish, the Divine Savior Parish in North Fairview, Quezon City during a Holy Mass, Nov. 30, 2016. (Photo: Minnie Agdeppa)

QUEZON City, Jan. 16, 2017 – Nothing destroys the “Communion of Communities” faster than a lack of humility because of personality clashes among ministry leaders and members.

This is what Estelita Macalaguim, recipient of Pope Francis’ Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice medal, said when asked on Jan. 12 what she thinks hinders communion in the parish and in society today.

“For me, it’s their personalities that are not fit for their ministry or service…The thing is everyone is so individualistic. That’s why we need to have partnership,” said the papal awardee in Filipino.

Speaking from more than 20 years of serving the Catholic Church in the Philippines at the parish, diocesan, and national level, she explained that this points to a deep need for humility–to be truthful about one’s self and capacities–demanded by any ministry. “Every ministry has different service. The reason why there is no partnership is because there’s competition,” added Macalaguim.

An entrepreneur by profession, she said this need for unity is true even in business, which she considers another form of community. “Since business is still a community, we need to have unity in diversity just like in the parish.”

On behalf of Pope Francis, Novaliches Bishop Antonio R. Tobias, D.D. and Antipolo Bishop Emeritus Gabriel Reyes awarded the 73-year old with the Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice (For Church and Pope) medal during solemn investiture ceremonies held in her parish, the Divine Savior Parish in North Fairview in this city during a Holy Mass on Nov. 30, 2016, the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.

Previously the vice president and treasurer for the Ecclesiastical Province of Manila from 2011 to 2013, she was the first Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) chairperson of her parish, in 1993 before becoming the first president of the Council of the Laity of Novaliches (CLaN) in 2002. Macalaguim is also the recipient of various leadership awards, like the 2001 Gintong Ina Award from the Golden Mother and Father Foundation.

According to Tobias’s letter to Macalaguim informing her about the award, the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal is “the highest medal awarded to lay women by the Pope” in “recognition of their distinguished service to the Church.” (Minnie Agdeppa / CBCPNews)

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