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Symposium highlights Pope’s ‘Fratelli Tutti’

Bomana, Port Moresby: An enriching symposium providing a detailed insight into Pope Francis’ Encyclical entitled ‘Frateli Tuti’ was held on Saturday 28th November, at the Catholic Theological Institute Bomana.

The symposium was graced by the presence of Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, Apostolic Nuncio to PNGSI; Sir John Cardinal Ribat MSC, Archbishop of Port Moresby; Fr Giorgio Licini PIME, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNGSI; and Fr Joseph Vnuk, President of the Catholic Theological Institute. It also had the presence of more than a hundred people that included Priests, Religious, laity, staff of CTI and media personnel.

The program throughout had various speakers present various aspects of the Encyclical that ranged from its overall background; the document’s eight chapters and its Franciscan history; importance of dialogue in the modern world and among the different religions; implementation and effectiveness of its principals in regard to Papua New Guinea’s impeding social circumstances; responses and working together with non-Catholics and protestants. ‘Question and Answer’ sessions and group discussions were held in-between that gave audience members an opportunity to share their reflections on the presentations given on the Encyclical.

Abp Vayalunkal in his address described the Fratelli Tuti as ‘beautiful and thought-provoking’ and said that it provided the social teachings essential for humanity to form a better world especially amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic. “It is the sum total of all the teachings of Pope Francis and it teaches all countries to strive to be part of a larger family that recognises fraternity, to be seen and heard as fellow brothers and sisters” he said.

Fr Joseph said the document teaches humanity to be caring and open in their relationships with others and called for all distinctions to be put aside. “Everyone is the same and this is something we can all use when carrying out our mission as Christians, and the Church needs to be intricately involved in its application, and not just as a social agency,” he added.

Fr Joseph Kiagho, Lecturer of CTI, dwelled on the encyclical’s Franciscan history and told of how Pope Francis’ in his youthful days had a spiritual and higher calling to care and honour the beauty of creation.

Mary Steven, a layperson from the Blessed Peter ToRot Parish in 8-mile Port Moresby, said the teachings found in the document were very relevant to the vast issues affecting the population and called for more awareness particularly among young people. “For the teachings to be really put into effect, there needs to be a closer collaboration between the clergy and laity in engaging our young people to empower them to share the knowledge and love of God with others” she said.

Laity Coordinator from the Diocese of Lae, Kenneth Kina, thanked the symposium’s panel of presenters for the sharing of the Holy Father’s doctrine and reassured for a more proactive approach to be taken in his diocese of upholding its teachings.

A Closing Mass was held in the evening at the Holy Spirit Seminary Chapel celebrated by Cardinal Ribat, that was concelebrated by fellow Priests from the seminary and lay faithful.

Fratelli tutti is Italian for ‘All Brothers’ and is Pope Francis’ third encyclical that was signed on 3rd October 2020. It focuses on "Fraternity and Social Friendship", and according to the document the COVID-19 pandemic has proven the world’s failure in uniting together during this crisis.

The document was signed on 3rd October 2020, during Pope Francis' visit to the tomb of his namesake, St Francis of Assisi and was published the following day, the saint's feast day.

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