09 Effective habits for Lay Animator - Fr Felix D'Souza

posted Jun 20, 2018, 9:11 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 20, 2018, 9:12 AM ]
Lay Animators (in Cells and Associations) are doing their best in pastoral ministry in spite of time constraints, non-cooperative attitude from some clergy/parishioners, family commitments and responsibilities. In spite of difficult and unfavourable circumstances, many lay animators carry on, persevering in their task and not readily giving into the temptation of "resigning". In ministries of the animating type, we are blessed in this archdiocese with a lot of "good willed" lay animators; thank God for their commitment and generosity... and yet, what is required, is that all become highly effective animators along with their "good will".

Stephen Covey, in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, speaks about seven principles capable of bringing about a shift in the way we view and do things. His other book Living the Seven Habits is a collection of stories of courage/inspiration capturing the essence of people's real-life experiences in applying the proven seven principles to solve problems and overcome challenges.


Being proactive is more than taking initiative. It is accepting responsibility and making choices. Lay animators need to make a choice that their work is going to bring about a change in the parishes. Proactive people are agents of change, and choose not to be reactive or blame others/situations. We need to fix the problem when it arises, not fix the blame. "It is not working", "no one wants it", "they are all so busy"... these may be the facts; but nothing happens by blaming others. By looking into what can be done (increasing the area of influence), lay animators can create change. Making choices that bring about change will be appreciated.


Organisations shape their own future by creating a vision for any project. They identify and commit themselves to the "end in mind". Parishes in our archdiocese have gone through the process of formulating a vision-mission statement, which simply means they have laid down what they would like the parishes to be five/ten years hence. Similarly, lay animators need to formulate what they would like to happen through the groups they are involved in—clearly marking out what are the two or three things they want to achieve in the next two or three years. It is only when they keep before them a vision (a desired change, which is reasonable and practical) that their work will be an effective one; otherwise, they will go on with their groups year after year, with the same routine activities and lukewarm response.