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  • Ms Rica Lavilla and Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb

Greetings and Gratitude

DBTS welcomes the EAO Regional, Fr Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc, SDB

Gabutu: The East Asia Oceania Regional Councillor, Fr Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc sdb was warmly welcomed on the 23rd March 2022, by the staff and students at the Don Bosco Technical School, Gabutu (DBTS). Fr Joseph represents the 10th successor of St John Bosco, Ángel Fernández Artime sdb, Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

The DBTS Mission Group led the 1079 students and staff in greeting the Regional superior as they waved their colorful flags. Fr. Pedro Sachitula, SDB, Rector and Fr. Ambrose Pereira, SDB, Spiritual Moderator, and Mr. Martin Dai, Principal were just as happy as the whole DBTS community to receive the Rector Major’s representative for the EAO Region.

Fr. Joseph was presented with traditional items. A headband made from cassowary feathers was put on his head by the School Captain Leonard Oa, a necklace made of shells was placed on his neck by the Vice School Captain Jude Yaru while Mrs. Lenn Correa one of the longest-serving Salesian educators also put on his neck a bilum with the PNG colors. He was then carried from the school gate to the assembly area by six Mission Group members where students and staff eagerly awaited his arrival. A traditional singsing in the Motu language accompanied the welcome procession.

Fr Gregorio Bicomong sdb, Provincial of the vice-Province of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands introduced the Regional by explaining to the assembly gathered what is the Regional Superior’s role and the scope of his work by enumerating the different continents where there are Salesian presences and concluding with East Asia and Oceania Region to which PNG & SI belong. There was a big round of applause when Fr. Greg mentioned that now the Regional Superior is in Gabutu.

Addressing the students, the lively and animated Regional Councillor spoke on two points: Greetings and Gratitude.He shared the greetings of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel whom he said highlighted ‘communion’ with all the institutions in the 133 countries of the world. In speaking of gratitude, he requested that every student to be grateful for the education they receive at Don Bosco for there are many who do not have the possibility of a good education. “Thanks to the dedicated and committed Salesian missionaries who left their countries to come to the beautiful land of Papua New Guinea. Thanks to the qualified staff and teachers who spend their lives in the serve of educating the young. Gratitude for the wonderful facilities that are present in the campus, and above all gratitude to God who has made all things possible”, he said.

After hearing Fr. Joseph’s good morning talk the students some senior students expressed that:

“It was a privilege to be with and listen to Fr. Joseph. I learned about being grateful. It is important to be thankful towards our Salesians and Salesian educators and to appreciate everything that Don Bosco is doing for us”. - Taina Joku

“I feel that we are part of a big family of Don Bosco all around the world. Fr. Joseph the Don Bosco in our midst said one statement that moved me. He said, all the Salesians that you see here will get old and you are the ones who are going to take our place to bring forward the work of St. John Bosco. This statement challenged me and for some minutes I pondered about it. And I came up with an answer in my mind, we should give ourselves for the mission of Don Bosco by either becoming a Salesian (priest, brother) or a Salesian educator”. - Elijah Timbalu.

Fr Joseph will spend the next five days in the community meeting the Salesians, staff, volunteers, and students. On Saturday 26th March, he will preach the Monthly Recollection for the communities of Port Moresby. He will also have the occasion to visit the Parish of March Help of Christians, Sabama meet the Salesian Cooperators, ADMA and greet the Sunday Oratory children and young people at Gabutu.

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