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  • Sr. Maria Tongop pbvm

Aitape Diocese concludes 3rd Diocesan General Pastoral Assembly on a high note

Aitape: The 3rd Aitape Diocesan General Pastoral Assembly was held from 9th - 15th October 2023. The assembly evaluated how the diocese lived phase two of stage one of the diocesan pastoral plan, from 2018 to 2023, which had Identity as its primary value and dignity, participation, self-reliance and equality as sub values. In preparation for the diocesan assembly parish assemblies were conducted during the last one year in all the 32 parishes and quasi parishes of the diocese.

200+ participants made up of priests and religious and representatives from all the parishes, sectors and services of the diocese in the three deaneries of Aitape, Nuku and Lumi attended the week-long assembly at St. Martin's Pastoral Center, Aitape. Also joining the group were teachers, nurses and other public servants. The assembly was organized by Rev. Fr. Hugh Kuam OFM, Vicar General and Pastoral Vicar, and the DTPA.

There were sessions on the objectives and spirituality of the Renewal Program in the context of a synodal Church journeying together, a Church of communion, participation and sharing in the mission of Jesus. Many of the discussions during the assembly pointed out the fact that the people really tried to live their faith through the spirituality of communion and how they lived out locally what they believed.

In fact, over the last six years of phase 2, the diocese of Aitape experienced many challenges in living the values of Identity. But this doesn't stop us from moving forward into Phase - 3 with the primary value of 'Loving Unity'; and Harmony, Sharing, Relationship and Unity as its sub-values. We feel a sense of unity and oneness in the faith and we take ownership of our faith in a spirit of service for the spiritual, social, physical and material benefits of all, expressed in Participation, Communion and Mission.

Fr. Andrew Moses of Daru Kiunga diocese, an expert priest in the Renewal Program, was very skilful and helpful. He worked tirelessly during the assembly. He smoothly conducted the week-long Assembly to the very level and understanding of the local people. It was a great blessing for the people of Aitape to have him in our midst.

The Assembly ended with the solemn Holy Mass and significant activities on 15 October 2023:

1: Closing of the 3rd Aitape Diocesan General Pastoral Assembly

2: Launching of Phase 3, with the theme of 'Loving Unity'

3: Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Patron Saint of the diocese.

Bishop Siby Mathew Peedikayil, HGN was the main celebrant with thirteen priests and one Deacon who assisted him during the celebration. Large gathering of the faithful participated in the well-organized liturgy with beautiful music, lovely and creative decorations and traditional processions.

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