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  • Elizabeth Makis and Allan Robert

UPNG Catholic Students first visit to CBC

Port Moresby: Catholic Students Association (CSA) from the University of Papua New Guinea for the first time visited and attended a brief seminar at the Catholic Bishop’s Conference (CBC), the National Headquarters of the Catholic Church in PNG and Solomon Islands.

The 22 students visited CBC on Wednesday 18 May and toured the facilities and had the opportunity to meet with the General Secretary, Fr Giorgio Licini PIME and the Commission Heads. They explained to the students about the general structure and functions of CBC and the functions of each commission.

The staff included Ms. Helen Oa (CBC Human Resource Manager), Sr. Mary McCarthy PBVM (Volunteer Co-ordinator from the Service Chaplaincies), Ms. Mavis Tito (Caritas PNG Director) and Ms. Charlotte Vada (CPNG Program Manager), Mr. Jason Siwat (Desk for Migrants & Refugees Director) and Mrs Eileen Lala (Commission for National Catholic Education Assistant Secretary).

The CBC, as Fr. Giorgio explained in his speech during the seminar, is a facilitating organization that purposely serves as a hub for Bishops in PNG and Solomon Islands to facilitate, promote and implement common incentives for all bishops based in the 22 dioceses.

“Commission means secretariat or desk or entity that promotes some particular ministry”, explained Fr. Giorgio.

Prior to the seminar, Executive Assistant to the General Secretary, Mrs. Nyleptha Maino gave a tour around the main office, commissions and the Liturgical Catechetical Institute (LCI) book shop.

The LCI bookshop sells all kinds of Catholic items ranging from a rosary of K3 to a priest’s chasuble [a garment that the priest wears over his other vestments. It symbolizes the yoke of Christ and the priesthood] as well as good books about the Catholic faith and many other Catholic resources. It is based in the Diocese of Goroka and just recently opened a branch in Port Moresby in the CBC compound.

Expressing his experience of the visit was the President of the Catholic Students Association, Gordon Walimbu, a 3rd year Political Science Student in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS).

“I think for me personally, it’s something memorable I will not forget in my life. I was so excited and delighted to see all these things the church offers to us. The discussion that we had in the Conference room was an eye-opener for me. We are Catholics but we don’t really understand the function

s and structures of CBC Fr. Giorgio explained to us and I got a good glimpse of the Conference itself and its functions,” he said.

“It was interesting and good exposure for us because you really get to know what happens in there; the different functions in place, the structure of the CBC and the work that they do,” stated Marie Louise Gham, a 4th year Political Science student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS).

She added “one thing that really caught my attention was that they start off the day with prayer and end it with a prayer. In other organizations, you just rush to go to work and work until you clock out. As a Catholic, it’s a blessing and it was a great experience for me.”

“I have not been to CBC. The trip was my first time even though I have been in Moresby for a couple of years now. The trip to CBC was exciting and very educational, especially in terms of our Catholic practice in our country. I’ve learned a lot about functions, structures, vision, and mission of CBC. I didn’t know that the CBC is combined with the Solomon Islands. It was a privilege that I got to be part of the group that went and visit yesterday,” said Allan Robert, a 3rd Year Information and Communication Science Student from School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS)

The visit was an initiative of the CSA President who had arranged this with Fr. Giorgio purposely to expose the Catholic University students to CBC.

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