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  • Sr Sharon Palencia OND

Launching and journeying with the Youth through Education

Mount Hagen: To respond to the call of the Conference Pastoral Plan II (CPP 2), the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands (CBC PNGSI) Youth Commission in partnership and collaboration with the local Churches and the new evangelization commission journeys the Youth through the education-formation program.

(Participants with Bishop Paul Sundu from Kundiawa Diocese, Youth Commission Secretary Sr Sharon Palencia OND and priests)

The Archdiocese of Mt. Hagen has successfully launched the Year of the Youth and Children last January 13-14 and 20-21, 2024 with the theme, “Yumi wokabaut wantaim Jisas na strongim bilip bilong ol yut na pikinini”. The youth and Children participants were divided into two groups by deanery because of their huge number. Upon their arrival, they walked together from the town to the Cathedral for orientation, Divine Mercy prayer, input on the theme given by Sr. Sharon Palencia, OND – CBC PNGSI Youth Commission Secretary, adoration and confession, and Eucharistic celebration to highlight the launching program. Archbishop Douglas Young, SVD shared a very inspiring message to the participants in his homily and encouraging them to be witnesses of God’s love. The launching was organized by the Archdiocesan Diocesan Team of Pastoral Animation and Youth Ministry with the guidance of the archbishop. Furthermore, Fr. Simon Paglau, youth chaplain said that there is an outlined program for the youth ministry intended for the young people to offer education -formation, capacity building and other related youth activities.

On the other hand, the Diocese of Kundiawa fruitfully hosted the five-day Diocesan Tertiary Students’ Formation Convention last January 15-19, 2024 held at Don Bosco Simbu Technical College with more than 100 student participants who are on holiday. The convention was initiated by Bishop Paul Sundu, diocesan DTPA and youth ministry in partnership with the Commission on the New Evangelization and the Youth. The theme for the said convention focused on “Forming students to encounter Jesus and his church, journeying in synodality to be salt and light”. The sessions and activities were given by Fr. Victor Roche, SVD, Sr. Sharon Palencia, OND, Fr. Richard Wadja, Kerygma Disciples team, Fr. Joseph Sen and Mr. Jack Maima. Bishop Sundu in his welcome speech said, “We value you because you are the Church of today and the future generation. We take pride of your achievements as you reach the tertiary level. We want you to encounter Jesus and become his disciples,  to be grounded in your Catholic faith and grow as a committed member of the Catholic Church. When you are educated and formed with the Church teachings, you can be agents of change in our Church and in the world. Then, we can truly say that you are the salt and light journeying in synodality.

Indeed, this opportunity to reach-out with the youth in the dioceses inflame my soul and delight my heart to move forward and see the beauty of ministering the young in the spirit of synodality. There is hope in our youth! Let us continue to re-awaken their youthful disposition to encounter Jesus, to develop their gifts, and to encourage them to share in the mission – to proclaim the reign of God. Pope Francis has his words to the young people and I quote, “Please don’t be observers of life, but get involved. Jesus did not remain an observer, but he immersed himself. Don’t be observers, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.”

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