Kumgi, Papua New Guinea,10 July 2020 -- The Educative Pastoral Community of Don Bosco Simbu Technical College wrapped up the First Semester of the School Year with a Thanksgiving Mass. A group of students from the New Guinea Islands led the processional dance. The Rector, Fr Angel Sanchez, presided over the Eucharist. In his homily, he underlined the words of Jesus taken from the gospel of the day: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). “Go out and strive to be good sheep of the Good Shepherd,” he told the Bosconians. He reminded the EPC of the prophetic dream of Don Bosco when he was nine and mission the Lord gave him of transforming wolves into sheep. “DBSTC’s mission is not only to train you for life, but to turn wolves into sheep,” Fr Angel said. He also emphasised the three pillars of the Preventive System—reason, religion and loving-kindness—and how these are very effective means of transforming the youth from wolves into sheep. The Rector invited the community to thank God first and foremost for the blessings received the past Semester. Despite the pandemic that is seriously affecting the lives of people in most countries, the students in Papua New Guinea are still able to continue with their education in a relatively “normal” way because God has spared the country and its people from the dreaded coronavirus. This is enough reason to thank the good Lord. Secondly, he asked the Bosconians to recognise the efforts of the Salesian Educators, the staff and the Sisters of Charity of Saint Anne in pasturing the sheep entrusted to them by the Lord. “As your good shepherds, the Salesians and your educators do not want anyone among you to get lost,” the Rector explained to the students. At the start of the School Year, there were 550 enrolled students at DBSTC. To date, there are 510. Along the way, 40 withdrew for one reason or another.
After the Thanksgiving Mass, Dr. Camy Thomas, an Indian lay volunteer who is a dentist at Kompiam District Hospital in Enga Province of Papua New Guinea, gave a very informative talk on dental health and oral hygiene. Among other things, she pointed out the dangers of chewing “buai” (betel nut), smoking, and excessive intake of soda. She shared some real life situations she has encountered among her patients since she started her work as volunteer in PNG in 2018. Chewing betel nut is causing mouth cancer in PNG. Given the situation of health care and the availability of facilities in the country, Dr Camy said that those diagnosed with mouth cancer only have a maximum of 5 years more to live. It is hoped that the students will take seriously and be able to put into practice the advice and recommendations given by Dr. Camy.
After having been fed spiritually, as the Bosconians come out of the Diocesan Shrine of Saint John Bosco where the Thanksgiving Mass was held, a scone was handed to each one. After the holidays, everyone is expected to be back to start the Second Semester on the 20th of July.