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  • - Abigail Seta

Outreach on strengthening Christian formation

Port Moresby: An outreach program was conducted for the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) Catholic Students Association to strengthen Christian formation for students to become positive contributors in their communities.

Held at the UPNG Chaplains residence on Tuesday, 10th November, the outreach had the participation of twenty-two Catholic students and friends from other denominations.

The four-hour program was facilitated by representatives from the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC). The representatives were Jason Siwat, Caritas PNG’s Migrants and Refugees Officer; Marie Mondu, Development Secretary; Eva Wangihama, Laity Secretary and Elizabeth Aribi, Youth Secretary.

The sessions focused on the role of youth in the church and child abuse, CBC structure, catholic identity, vocation of the laity, creating lesson plans when preparing an awareness outreach, public speaking, role play, use of media mediums in awareness, organising a community outreach, social justice issues, sand mining, impacts of climate change, human trafficking and promoting sustainable development programs.

According to Mr Siwat, the program was a first of its kind for CBC and UPNG and was also a way to equip the students with some skills and resource materials to enhance their awareness efforts in their dioceses.

“The program went really well with the amount of attention given by the students to the contents that were presented. I wish to continue this kind of program with them next year, which is good for the formation of the students but also good for us to use this as a vehicle to send our messages both on evangelization and on issues of social justice to as many parts of our communities as possible, ” stated Mr Siwat.

The president of the UPNG Catholic Students Association, Fabian Apariga who is planning to carry out awareness during the Christmas break in his province of Madang, expressed his gratitude for the program.

“We are blessed with the talk. Most of the information presented has motivated us, encouraged us and will help us to conduct programs during the school holidays back in our dioceses. In future, such awareness should be carried out in the Catholic institutions so that the students will know the structure of the Church well and can be involved in activities,” said Fabian Apariga, President of the UPNG Catholic Students Association.

Ms Mondu said that by engaging with the students directly, the Dioceses Spiritual Directors and Secretaries can utilise this key population to empower with a series of inservices during their academic years on campus.

“We recognise the lack of discipline among Catholics and have a duty to address these huge margins in catechising different age groups. We hope through such engagements, our elites and graduating professionals will be morally formed to serve PNG wherever they are,” she added.

The program is an initiative of the Catholic Bishops Conference, the UPNG Chaplaincy and the UPNG Catholic Students Association.

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