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  • Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb

Society needs good and happy families

Boroko: The National Family Festival and Congress, a two-day program commenced on the 1st October 2022 at the beautiful auditorium of Caritas Secondary and Technical School, Boroko.

It had as its theme: Family Love: A Vocation and a path to Holiness. Around 700 participants from different parishes of the Archdiocese of Port Moresby were joined by couples and representatives from several dioceses of Papua New Guinea for the first day of the program.

The two-day festival had the following as objectives:

1. to place families at the centre of pastoral attention and evangelization;

2. to deepen the synodal conviction that the family is a vocation and a path to holiness and that they have been called to communion, participation and mission according to the call of Pope Francis in his apostolic letter, Amoris Leititia and

3. to celebrate and thank God for the grace and the gift of families in Papua New Guinea and around the world.

The day had reflective and inspirational talks by the bishops. These were based on Scripture, the documents of the church and examples from their pastoral ministry in Papua New Guinea. Then followed personal, emotional sharing of couples who have lived out the Sacrament of Marriage for several years evoked in the audience a sense of gratitude to God for His never-failing love, grace and blessings on our families. The participants also had the opportunity to ask questions and clarify doubts.

Family as Communion, called to faithfulness and love was presented by Bp Rochus Tatamai msc, Archbishop of Rabaul. He dealt with the family as ‘communion’. God has created man and woman in His own image and likeness, a reflection of the Triune God. Hence every family is called to live this communion. He explained that Unity and Indissolubility are characteristics of this communion. And hence the need to live in fidelity as a community of persons.

Desmond and Patricia Harricknen-Korpok shared on the Sacrament of Marriage as a Call to Holiness and Michael and Betty Varapik shared on Forgiveness as a Path to love and Faithfulness.

The second session was presented by Bp Justin Ain, Auxiliary Bishop of Wabag. It was entitled, Family, called to prayer, dialogue and discernment of God’s will. He dwelt on the enslavement to wealth, money, power and domination that has violated and undermined the focus of a family. He invited the families to live by the principles of unconditional love, care, trust, forgiveness and mutual self-giving and others enshrined by God in the family, stressing that prayer is the basis and the foundation of our lives together.

Lucy and John Lavu shared about resolving conflicts through dialogue, while Vergil and Grace Narokobi spoke on Prayer and discernment ion resolving conflicts.

In the final session Bp Rolando C. Santos, CM, presented Family as Mission: evangelized and evangelizing families as salt and light in society. He stressed that every family is a domestic church. They evangelize and give witness to their Christian faith in their day-to-day interaction with each other. Modeled on the Holy Family every family has this vocation and mission in the world.

Ramon and Brenda Garay spoke of being missionary couples and evangelization and Peter and Teresa Aitsi shared on the need for pastors to accompany couples in difficulty.

Archbishop Douglas Young, Archbishop of Mt Hagen brought the day to a fitting conclusion with a Eucharistic celebration. Joining him were Bishops and priests. In his homily he shared about spirituality in his home and family and encouraged couples and families to make prayer an essential element of their lives.

Participants at the family Congress were grateful that they were able to participate at the Congress. They were inspired by the sessions of the day and convinced that good and happy families will contribute to a good and happy society. The beautiful liturgy was led by the St Michaels choir, Hanuabada, Port Moresby.

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