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  • Nigel Akuani 

Daru-Kiunga Diocesan Assembly ends on High Note

Kiunga, Western Province: The 2021 Diocesan Assembly of Daru-Kiunga came to a formal close on Wednesday 4th September 2021, with participants expressing satisfaction at the meeting’s positive outcome.

The Assembly that commenced on Friday 3rd September, was held at the Blessed Peter To Rot Formation Centre, and had as its theme, ‘Go Deeper into the Heart of Jesus Christ’. The program was facilitated by Fr Andrew Moses, Vicar General of Daru-Kiunga and Pastoral Vicar of the Diocesan Team of Pastoral Animation (DTPA). Present throughout were Bishop-Emeritus, Gilles Cote’ SMM, and Bishop of Daru-Kiunga Joseph Durero SVD.

Also actively involved in the program were 82 participants that included Priests, Seminarians, Religious, Diocesan Administration Staff, and representatives from the diocese’s different parishes located in the districts of North-Fly, Middle-Fly and South-Fly of Western Province.

The Diocesan Assembly is a gathering held every four years to discuss the life of the Church and make recommendations. Its main focus for 2021 was to finalize ‘Phase 3 of Stage 2’ of the Diocesan Plan.

Fr Andrew in his emphasis of the Assembly’s significance, said it gave clear indication of direction and necessary plan of action to be implemented for the overall wellbeing of the Diocese. “It reflects a church where decisions are made together by all members who represent the parishes and people, and this helps to guide us and move us forward in our journey of faith together,” he stated.

When asked if he was pleased with the Assembly’s outcome, Bp Gilles described it as positive which was reflected by their active involvement and openness in sharing and participating in group discussions. “It was very good because participants seemed energized and prepared to engage themselves in the assembly’s sessions, and later when you listen to the people and their comments, you hear something special as though God or the Holy Spirit is speaking to highlight an important issue happening in their lives, communities or parishes,” he said.

According to Bp Gilles, the Assembly’s objective is to live and experience a deeper communitarian spirit through sharing, dialogue and listening all whilst journeying deeper into the heart of Jesus Christ. “This is a Diocesan Assembly and so we think Diocese. We discuss the Diocesan planning for the next Phase. If lived with constant faith and commitment, it will give you the strength and light to solve many of your problems,” he explained.

“We will be strengthened and will be able to remain faithful to Him and bear witness to Him in the midst of all the difficulties, temptations and oppositions of the world. Living the spirituality of communion and embracing our Diocesan Pastoral Plan has been my richest contribution to the life, growth and mission of our Diocesan Church. However, the last Canadian Monfort Missionary is leaving, so take ownership and hold onto the Mission of Faith with your new Bishop,” he further stated.

In his description of the Diocesan Assembly, Bp Joseph Durero SVD, classified the Diocesan Plan as, “Our limbo on our journey of faith we choose to take that unites us as the Church and helps us to discover God”.

He went onto encourage all participants present to fully commit themselves in the Pastoral works of the Church of God. “Let us become confident individually and connected in our work, our life, and especially with the people God entrusted us. Let us make the diocesan planning for the next 4-years come into existence. But before that, let us thank Bp Gilles for his dedication and ability to inspire our spiritual life despite diversity of culture and background over the last 50-years here in the Diocese,” he said out loud.

After spending 10-years outside of the diocese, Bishop’s Secretary, Sr Jeanne Adeline, said she was impressed by the level of engagement and dialogue even though this was the first Diocesan Assembly she had attended. “There is an established connection that eases them to freely share their thoughts, and though there is a bit of disagreement at first on certain agendas, the notion of respect of opinion still prevails,” she assured.

Numerous agendas were closely examined and deliberated on by the Assembly that ranged from: Journey of Faith for the Diocese, Key concept of Pastoral Planning and Methodology, Pastoral Care of the Community and Family, diocesan services, pastoral care of pastoral agents, collaborators and employees, Function of Small Christian Communities, Child Protection, Diocesan Youth Service, Diocesan Women Service, Callan Service, Diocesan Caritas Service, Mercy Works, Diocesan Vocation Service, Diocesan Formation Service, Ministry of the Bishop, Diocesan Team of Pastoral Animation, Diocesan Administration Service, Steps toward Self-Reliance, Reyenai Eaglewood Plantation, Peter To Rot Formation Centre, and the Montfort Press.

Highly interactive group studies and discussions, accompanied by lively energizers were held in-between that kept the atmosphere hyped and participants ready for the next sessions. Each day of the assembly had various themes accorded, respectively, Openness, Hope, Love and Faith. Mass was held at 5pm at the end of each day.

A final Eucharistic Celebration was held on Thursday 9th September, at the St Gerard’s Cathedral to officially launch the Diocese’s 4-Year Pastoral Plan that begins from 2022 till 2025.

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