Young people commit themselves to ‘Live Pure’
Conclusion of the National Youth Convention
Abigail Seta and Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb
Archbishop Mathew Kurian Vayalunkal, Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, concluded the National Youth Convention (NYC) with a Eucharistic celebration at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Vunapope, Rabaul on Wednesday, 12th December 2018.
Archbishop Francesco Panfilo SDB, Archdiocese of Rabaul; Bp Rochus Tatamai MSC, CBC President; Bp Pedro Baquero SDB, Bishop Deputy for Youth and Bp Roland Santos CM, Bishop Deputy for Youth, participants of the National Youth Convention and Catholic faithful from the Archdiocese of Rabaul were present for the celebration.
The Apostolic Nuncio expressed his joy at being present for the celebration. He shared the love and wishes of the Holy Father to young people. He reminded them of the Holy Fathers words, to young people at the World Youth Day of 2016 in Krakow. “To find fulfilment, to gain new strength, there is a way. It is not a thing or an object, but a person, and he is alive. His name is Jesus Christ,” he said.
He reminded the participants of the call to holiness and that God is present through our pains, suffering, joy and happiness. Reflecting on the reading (Is 40:25-31) and on the Gospel (Mt 11:28-30), he reminded the participants that God does not promise us a smooth voyage across life, but He does promise that He will calm the storm, rebuke the waves and help us reach the other side.
“Connect yourselves to Jesus, as in the yoke-partnership, as Jesus pulls along our burdens in the process of yoke sharing”, he said. He encouraged the youth to make Jesus a vital part of their lives and be connected to him as yoke-partners.
“Invite Christ into your life, into your family, into your village, into your parish, into your Church. Walk with confidence in this world of today and witness to Christ. Are you ready? Are you ready?”, concluded the Archbishop.
A high point and a very important part of the celebration then followed. Young ladies and men stepped forward with lighted candles held aloft. They pledged to ‘live pure’ lives, till they commit themselves in the Sacrament of Marriage. Members of the congregation joined in prayer that this step would bring about respect, fidelity and commitment in our young people and families in Papua New Guinea. Prayers were offered by the different dioceses for the needs of their communities. The lively celebration was animated by the Bougainville participants through singing and dances.
A closing ceremony was then held in the Archdiocesan hall. Archbishop Kurian, Archbishop Panfilo and all on the dais received cultural expressions of appreciation – a sign of the gratitude the participants feel for the presence and the accompaniment in their faith journey by these men of God.
Archbishop Kurian congratulated the organizers and the members on a magnificent event around a meaningful theme of life and love. He reminded the young people that they are not merely the future, but the present and invited them to be agents of change. They should go beyond the question ‘why’ and search for solutions on how to solve problems.
Words of gratitude were expressed by Joseph Dunly, NYC Chairman, Christian Mangvue, Archdiocese of Rabaul Youth Coordinator and Fr Ambrose Pereira SDB, CBC SOCOM and Youth Secretary. They thanked the bishops present and all the Bishops, Youth animators, chaplains, coordinators and above all the participants for an inspiring, enjoyable and meaningful event.
The National Youth Convention would not be possible without the main sponsors of event - Archbishop Francisco Panfilo SDB, Archbishop of Rabaul, together with the different departments of the Archdiocese. Gratitude to Mr and Mrs Sinai Brown, Sir Leo Dion, former Deputy Prime Minister and Governor for ENBP and Jeffrey Singer, BSP Manager for Kokopo. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Girls Secondary school, Kabaleo Divine Ward campus, Sacred Heart Novitiate and Vunabosco Agro Technical Secondary school provided accommodation and transport. Eucharistic celebrations and several sessions were carried live on the National Broadcasting Cooperation via Radio East New Britain through the kindness of Kabakaul Bay Resort. Articles have also been published by main stream media. Special gratitude to MISSIO for supporting the different youth programs of 2018 and the National Youth Convention.
A total of 246 participants registered for the National Youth Convention. (Male – 202; Female – 95) from 17 participating dioceses of Papua New Guinea. 12 priests and 3 religious sisters were animators in the different dioceses.
“The National Youth Convention has been a fantastic event in my life. The Day of the Pilgrimage to Rakunai with its visit to the birth place and martyrdom site of Bl Peter ToRot is something that I will always treasure”, - Gabriel Junior Kopul, Archdiocese of Mt Hagen.
“The sessions have been inspiring and a preparation for the Year of the Laity. I was unable to be present at the venue due to my work as a nurse, but listened attentively to the live radio broadcast. I have been truly inspired by the message of the Apostolic Nuncio at the concluding Eucharistic celebration”, - Lucie Tirupia, nurse at the Vunapope Hospital.
“It has been a unique experience that has given men courage, comfort, peace and joy. I pray that its effects will last a long time and that our young people can radiate and shine always”, - Edmund Ilave, Diocese of Lae.
The young people return to their dioceses to share their experience, animate their companions and lead others in commitment and witness of Christ in their lives.