Boroko, PNG, 11 November 2017 -- On the occasion of the 142nd anniversary of the sending of the first Salesian missionaries to Patagonia, about one hundred members of the Salesian Family (SDB, FMA, Salesian Cooperators, ADMA, Past Pupils and Caritas Sisters of Jesus) gathered at Emmaus Conference Centre for the PGS Salesian Family and Mission Day.
The first part of the event was a simple formation session. Fr. Sonny Fajardo, the Delegate for Mission Animation gave a presentation about this year’s Salesian Mission Day. He encouraged and exhorted the assembly to come up with initiatives to highlight the Salesian Missions and think of possible way on how to reach out to the poor and in need. He briefly discussed how and when the the Salesian Mission Day could be celebrated at local levels. In line with Pope Francis’ call “to go out to the peripheries” and to one’s “comfort zone,” the PGS Provincial Superior, Fr. Alfred Maravilla, proposed during his talk, five concrete ways on how the members of the Salesian Family can keep the missionary zeal of Don Bosco alive in the Vice Province. Since PGS is the Vice Province of Blessed Philip Rinaldi, the session closed with the music video of the “Hymn to Don Rinaldi,” composed by Fr. Angel Sanchez. Everybody then proceeded to the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians for the Eucharist.
The Mass presider was Bishop Pedro Baquero Jr SDB, the Bishop of Kerema. The homilist was the newly-ordained Fr. Gilbert Pano (2nd Papua New Guinean Salesian priest). Today was also the 4th priestly anniversary of Fr. Isidore Maramun (1st Papua New Guinean Salesian priest). Fr. Gilbert and Fr. Isidore were the principal concelebrants at the altar. Sr. Ria Versario FMA proclaimed the Reading and the Psalm. Mrs. Violet Ikupu, ASC aspirant read the intentions for the Prayer of the Faithful. The Past Pupils animated the music and singing. Before concluding the Mass, Fr. Alfred Maravilla told the assembly that the certificate assuring Fr. Gilbert of the Pope’s Blessing will be given as a gift. Since the Mass is also the Salesian Family’s Thanksgiving for the new bishop, Fr. Alfred gave a token (an image of the Good Shepherd) to Bishop Pedro, assuring him of the prayers and support of the Salesian Family. Bishop Pedro in turn expressed his gratitude. In his brief address, he shared some personal reflections about his missionary vocation and his appointment as bishop of Kerema as God’s call for him to go to peripheries and out of his comfort zone.
After the Mass, family lunch followed at the Emmaus Conference Centre. Fr. Isidore led the Grace before Meals. Before the end of the meal, the Salesian aspirants of Savio Haus rendered two Marian songs. Fr. Angel, the Delegate for the Salesian Family thanked everyone who came to attend the gathering and acknowledged the contribution of the different groups. He also encouraged everyone to help promote vocations to the different groups, hoping that the numbers of the members increase. To close the PGS Salesian Family and Mission Day, Bishop Pedro imparted God’s blessings upon everyone.