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Catholic Professionals: Navigating Spiritual Maturity as a Lifelong Journey

Badili, Port Moresby: The Opening mass for the Catholic Professionals Society (CPS) was celebrated at Christ the King parish, Badili by Fr. Emilio, parish priest, on Saturday, February 10, 2024. Present for the celebration were the Catholic Professionals who were joined by several parishioners.

Fr. Ambrose Pereira, Spiritual Director for the CPS, delivered a poignant message during his homily. He elaborated on the significance of spiritual maturity, emphasizing that it empowers individuals to harness their talents and gifts for the collective betterment. "It invites us to bring forth the gifts that each of us possesses, to be blessed and shared”, reiterated Fr. Ambrose. “This, in turn, will bring joy, happiness, and peace," he continued.

During the Mass, prayers were offered for Catholic professionals to serve as beacons of light and voices of change, dispelling the darkness of sin, violence, destruction, and abuse.

Mr. Michael Varapik, a member of the CPS Executive Committee, provided a brief overview of recent CPS activities. He highlighted the establishment of functioning chapters in Lae, Alotau, and Madang, with others, including Mt. Hagen, currently in the works.

Varapik also announced the CPS's ongoing recruitment drive for new members, emphasizing the diverse membership categories available. He noted the positive progress in recruitment, with many new and younger members joining the society.

Additionally, Varapik unveiled the CPS's newly developed booklet on the Rule of Life, offering guidelines for members on conducting themselves as Catholic professionals, alongside outlining the objectives and mission of the CPS. This booklet will be distributed to all CPS members.

He further highlighted the CPS's active engagement on several national issues of importance. President Paul Harricknen has been vocal against government attempts to alter the National Constitution for political purposes, expressed grave concerns regarding the rule of law following the recent Black Wednesday uprising in Port Moresby. He criticized the recent appointment of a Minister for Constitutional Offices by the Prime Minister, which directly undermines the independence and authority of Constitutional Offices in the country.

Established formally by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 2014, the CPS has been diligently planning its future since 2017, including convening a Planning Workshop in December 2018. While planning activities have been ongoing, the CPS has also been actively involved in addressing ongoing community, national, and Church concerns through advocacy and awareness programs.

CPS successfully hosted a dinner for the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) and a related laity conference in April 2018, attended by Cardinals and Bishops at the request of the CBC. The special guest of the FCBCO was His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin, the Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis.

Despite facing significant challenges due to Covid-19 restrictions from 2020 to 2021, the CPS's core group of Executive Committee members persevered in keeping the organization functional.

The Society formulated and implemented the CPS 5-Year Strategic Plan 2019-2023, which expired at the end of last year. The new CPS 5-Year Strategic Plan 2024-2028 has been formulated and recently finalized for implementation commencing this year. It outlines the key strategic plans that the CPS will focus on over the next five years.

The Catholic Professionals Society extends gratitude to Fr. Emilio, the Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish, for graciously hosting the Annual Opening Mass for 2024 and for officiating as the Main Celebrant during the Eucharistic Celebration.

Among the attendees at the Mass were senior Catholic professionals, including President Paul Harricknen, Ambassadors Dame Jean Kekedo and Gabriel Dusava, Dr. Patricia Paraide, Michael Varapik, and many younger members, including Jessie Karato, Nyleptha Maino, Patricia Kopok, Stephanie Lavarabin, and Louis Kango. Following the mass, attendees gathered for refreshments, enjoying convivial conversations with Fr. Emilio, Fr. Ambrose and the CPS members.

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