Mary Help of Christians Parish
Rapolo, Rabaul, PNG, 16 August 2019 -- On Don Bosco's birthday, Archbishop Francesco Panfilo SDB of Rabaul, PNG, established the parish of Mary Help of Christians at Rapolo as the newest parish in our EAO region. The Vunapope parish was considered too big to effectively minister to the Catholics, so the Archbishop decided to divide it and entrust the new parish to the Salesian community at Rapolo.
The parish is totally new and there are no structures in place yet. In the meantime, we use the school chapel as the parish Church. The parish is made up of 10 villages and many stations far from the parish centre. So, it would really be the priests who will have to visit the Catholic communities.
One of the main reasons we accepted the parish is because of the youth situation. Many young people of the villages have problems with drugs and alcohol abuse. Thus, one of our first project is to build a youth centre for the formation of youth and youth activities. Because of lack of priests with the previous parish, there was also no proper pastoral care and many of the faithful left the Church or just abandoned the practice of their faith. Thus, the formation of leaders of the local Catholic communities is another challenge.
The presence of Sisters is also necessary. This is why Fr. Provincial and Archbishop Panfilo had officially invited the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart to help us in the care of children, catechesis and the formation of the Catholic community.