- Paul Harricknen OL
Annual General Meeting Report
Catholic Professionals Society PNG
Annual General Meeting Report
15 August 2021
Port Moresby: Re-elected President of the Catholic Professionals Society of Papua New Guinea, Mr. Paul Harricknen, calls on the people of faith and the nation to stay vigilant and hopeful in these times of great difficulties and uncertainties and to focus on the preparation for the 2022 National General Elections as critical especially following the passing of the Founding Father of the nation, GGC Sir Michael Thomas Somare
The Catholic Professionals Society of PNG re-elected Mr. Paul Harricknen unopposed as President for another term at its 2021 Annual General Meeting on Sunday 15 August 2021. Other members of the Central Executive Committee are Dr. Patricia Paraide (vice President), Mr. Michael Varapik (re-elected, honorary treasurer), Mr. Collin Yaum (secretary), and Ambassador Gabriel Dusava, Mr. Kila Ai (both re-elected) and Ms. Florence Sariman (members).
The former vice President of the Society, Dame Jean Kekedo did not seek re-election for personal reasons. The President thanked her for her commitment and contributions to the work of the Society during her time and wished her well.
The meeting was also attended and witnessed by the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Fr. Giorgio Licini, PIME, and the CPS Spiritual Director Fr. Ambrose Pereira, SDB.
The President while accepting his re-election called on the CPS members, the Church and the society in general to stay vigilant especially during these times of great difficulties and uncertainties. While many of the pastoral and social events and programmes planned for 2020 calendar year did not take place due mostly to the Covid-19 pandemic the President is optimistic that the people and the nation will come to accept and live with the conditions of the times.
In such difficult times, the President reminded the members that the country and its people need good and strong political leadership. The 2022 national general elections therefore becomes an important event for the life of this nation, especially following the passing of the founding father of the nation GGC Sir Michael Somare on 26 February 2021. The country is facing many issues and challenges already including the debate on the move to make PNG a Christian State by the force of law, and amendments to Sections 45 and 46 and the Preamble of the Constitution. The Catholic Church has spoken against the proposal, which the Government of the day will have to thread very carefully.
The President also highlighted a CPS initiative to establish a legal aid programme under the Individual & Community Rights Advocacy Forum (ICRAF) to help victims of gender based violence, sorcery accusations related violence, family sexual violence, domestic violence, and human rights abuses with the support of a coalition of lawyers for human rights which is already in formation.
Fr. Giorgio acknowledged the role of Catholic Professionals in the Church and the society and encouraged the members of the society to continue to contribute meaningfully to Church and society in general utilizing their knowledge, skill and talents as professional lay people. This year 2021 marks the conclusion of the three Years for the Laity working with the theme, “Holy, Formed and Sent for Mission”.