Bishops discuss important issues
- Bp Donald Lippert OFM Cap
Port Moresby: Catholic Bishops from across PNG gathered in the Nation’s Capital for the 61st Annual General Meeting. The Bishops from Solomon Islands were not able to participate because of COVID19 quarantine requirements. The theme of the meeting was: “Our Catholic Laity: Holy, Formed and Sent for Service.”
The meeting opened with a solemn Mass presided by His Eminence Sir John Cardinal Ribat, MSC, Archbishop of Port Moresby. Archbishop-elect Rochus Tatamai, MSC in his position as President of the Catholic Bishops Conference PNGSI, presented his report covering important accomplishments of the past three years. Before entering further into the many matters to be considered, the bishops spent a day in prayer, reflection and adoration.
The bulk of the meetings was dedicated to a presentation and discussion reports from the various Bishop Deputies of the following Commissions: Christian Formation, Mission and Integral Human Development. These Commissions plan, coordinate and execute the substantial pastoral and social outreach of the Catholic Church throughout PNGSI, in the areas of evangelization, faith, formation, health, education, family life, young people, social communication, liturgy, etc.
Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, D.D., addressed the Bishops regarding important matters regarding the relationship of the church in PNGSI with the Universal Church, including a possible visit of the Holy Father, Pope Francis to PNG sometime in the future.
Mr Paul Harricknen of the Catholic Professional Association gave a presentation on some issues arising out of the recent Pandemic Act.
His Excellency Jomn Philp, Australian High Commissioner addressed the Bishops on the ongoing partnership between the Australian Government and the Churches in PNG regarding various development programs, especially in the areas of health and education.
His Grace Anton Bal, Archbishop of Madang was elected by the assembled Bishops as the new President of the Catholic Bishops Conference for the next three years. His Lordship Otto Separy, Bishop of Bereina, was elected as the Vice-President.
On Thursday, 2nd July at 11am there will be a Press Conference at the Catholic Bishops Conference, Waigani to present some of the most important issues raised during the meeting, among them are: Health, Gender Based violence, evangelization, etc.
The Church in PNGSI is young and vibrant. The meeting will conclude Thursday with a concluding mass at 5pm. There is a spirit of renewed commitment of the Bishops to proclaim the Good News to the people of PNGSI so that all may come to encounter the saving and loving person of Jesus Christ.
The AGM originally set to be held in the first quarter of the year, was deferred due to the lockdown measures passed by the government to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.