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  • Jessica Oata

PNGSI Bishops conclude 65th Annual General Meeting successfully

Gordons, Port Moresby: The Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands successfully concluded their 65th Annual General Meeting on Friday April 19th, 2024.


(Group picture of the Bishops with the Secretary to the Nuncio Mons. Federico Boni at the 2024 AGM)


Held from April 9th – 19th at the Catholic Bishops Conference in Gordons, Port Moresby, this year’s AGM had as the theme: Bring children to Jesus. Promotion of vocations among children and young people.

 

In attendance were 21 Bishops from the 22 Dioceses in PNG and SI and one Diocesan Administrator.

 

The AGM was officially opened with a dedication mass led by the CBC liturgy group with the assistance of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC) community in Gerehu. The main celebrant was Most Reverend Bishop Dariusz Kaluza MSF from Bougainville Diocese. Joining him as con-celebrants were his Grace Archbishop Christopher Cardone OP from Honiara Archdiocese and CBC PNGSI President Most Reverend Bishop Otto Separy from Bereina Diocese.

 

Bishop Kaluza highlighted the Synod on Synodality in his homily stating that he is very pleased with the synodal process in the local church of PNG and SI.

 

Plenaries for the two-weeks AGM included intense sessions by guest facilitators, meetings and reports from:

·      CBC President

·      the Solomon Islands

·      the CBC General Secretary

·      Secretaries of the different Commissions of CBC

·       Chairmen of Committees and finance,

the Secretary of the Nunciature’s address and the other agenda concerning the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

 

During the course of the AGM, the Bishops had the opportunity to do their medical check-up to know their health status.

 

As custom, the Bishops also visited the Holy Spirit Seminary to spend time with the seminarians after a well animated Eucharistic celebration that had Archbishop Douglas Young SVD from Mt Hagen Archdiocese as the main celebrant.

 

The Bishops, through CBC, also hosted a dinner fundraiser to support the Catholic Theological Institute in its drive to raise funds to renovate the aging facilities as well assist towards its 25 Silver Jubilee, 2025.

 

The Press Conference to officially update the Catholic faithful of PNGSI and the general public on the progress and preparation of the Holy Father’s visit to PNG was the highlight of the AGM. Speaking as panelists during the Press Conference was CBC President Most Reverend Bishop Otto Separy from Bereina Diocese, Chairperson of the Papal Visit Committee Most Reverend Bishop Rozario Menezes SMM from Lae Diocese, Most Reverend Bishop Francis Meli from Vanimo Diocese and His Eminence John Cardinal Ribat MSC from the Port Moresby Archdiocese.

 

Sentiments of joy was shared by the Catholic faithful after the Bishops outlined the tentative program during the Press Conference as they had been praying in anticipation for confirmation to come from the Holy See after one of the daily newspapers ran a story earlier this year on the Holy Father’s intention to visit PNG.

 

The AGM concluded with a thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration animated by the CBC staff with colorful processions again with the assistance of the MSC Sisters. Bishop Otto Separy was the main celebrant with Bishop Rozario Menezes SMM and His Eminence John Cardinal Ribat MSC as the con-celebrants.

 

Bishop Separy reflected on the Gospel for the day on John 6: 52-59 on Jesus being the Bread of Life and encouraged everyone to have a deep spiritual and personal relationship with God through receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

 

“When we do not receive Holy Communion, we become spiritually malnourished. The Eucharist nourishes our spiritual being and when we are nourished, so is our relationship with God”.

 

Before the final blessing, Bishop Rozario and Bishop Otto thanked all those who made the 65th AGM a success – the CBC Secretariat, the staff of CBC especially the hospitality team, all the benefactors and the Catholic faithful and people of goodwill for their continuous prayers and support.

 

The 66th AGM will be held in Madang next year, 2025.

 

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