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OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Year of Youth: an opportunity to rediscover and witness faith

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Posted on: 04/02/18
Boroko - The year 2018, proclaimed "Year of Youth" by the local Church, is a precious opportunity to help young people understand, live and witness their faith in Christ Jesus: this is what emerged from the National youth animators Seminar , recently concluded in Boroko, Port Moresby, promoted by the Youth Commission of the Episcopal Conference. The meeting, entitled: "Called to the fullness of Life and Love", saw the participation of 22 youth animators from 13 different dioceses of Papua New Guinea.
"It was aimed at bringing together the youth animators in order to enable them to interact, network and reflect on the Synod dedicated to young people: this was the meaning of the various speeches that followed, which placed particular emphasis on living their Catholic life with the Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation and helping the young to understand the need for committed love and preparing them for the Sacrament of Matrimony", explains Father Ambrose Pereira, Salesian priest, Director of the Episcopal Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, in a note sent to Agenzia Fides.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, Archbishop Kurian Vayalunkal, addressed the participants and highlighted the responsibility of a youth animator and the need to nurture this responsibility in the young. Bishop Rochus Tatamai, of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, reminded each participant to spend more time in prayer with the Lord and reflect on the live culture today. "As a Melanesian - he said - we need to highlight the good that is present in our culture and evangelize what is contrary to Catholic life, principles, doctrine and teachings". The Bishop of the diocese of Alotau-Sideia, Mgr. Rolando Santos, shared his vocation story, the struggles and the cross that has shaped him into the person he is today.
The Papua New Guinean Youth organisation, “The Voice” focused on the life and culture of today’s young people and on the use of social media. "We need to use social media to convey a positive message", said Fr. Ambrose inviting participants to reflect on how they consider their service to young people. The session entitled, ‘True Love Waits’, dwelt on the variety of relationships in Life. It highlighted the basic types of relationships. "These relationships need to be clearly understood by our young people. It is unfortunate that many people equate friendship with sexual relationship. As animators we need to help our young people integrate infatuation into the rest of their relationships".
"A positive attitude is what young people need to learn to develop. Youth animators need to help young people move from their weakness and use their strengths to bring about the change they desire", said Sr Aurora Yolanda Pugal, of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Mgr. Santos invited the participants to imitate the example of Mary, the perfect disciple of Christ: “May we learn to be disciples of Christ and continue his mission on earth", he said in his speech. Challenged, encouraged, refreshed and with new insights, the animators have returned to empower the young people of their own diocese.


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