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ALA_5245

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By Almeric Paul Gatarin


Kokopo, Papua New Guinea, 8 November 2019 -- Like most contract workers here in Papua New Guinea, my primary goal is to work. To be a member of any organization was never my intention at all. I had no interest in joining any group even in my home country.


Mrs. Veronica Manao, my colleague, who is known to everyone as Ate Veron, is an active member of the Asssociation of Salesian Cooperators (ASC). She invited me to join the group and I turned down her invitation several times. I just offered to be her driver whenever they have activities. But Ate Veron never gave up on me. She invited me over and over again. “Just one formation lesson and observe”, she said. I simply said “okay”. However, that one formation lesson prompted me to attend the next lessons and join other activities like the outreach program to different villages. My perspective changed.


I never imagined myself teaching catechism to children, providing health information to remote villages, praying the rosary and reading the Bible. Back in my elementary and high school days, my grandmother would force us to join them in praying the rosary as she was an active member of the church. We often had prayer meetings in our house and I found ways to escape.


Now, I realize that I am doing exactly the things I didn’t like before. Honestly, I could not believe that I would enjoy every moment of it. Perhaps, I should have said “Yes” to Ate Veron’s invitation earlier.


Nevertheless, it isn’t too late. I completed the initial formation lessons and finally, after 2 years, I am a full pledged member of ASC. I know there are responsibilities and I am ready to take up the challenge.


Yes! I am now a Salesian Cooperator, and I am proud to be one.


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