Rapolo, Kokopo, East New Britain, PNG, 16 September 2020 -- In line with the SYM - PGS, the Parish of Mary Help of Christians Rapolo organized a Youth Camp on the weekend of 11 to 13 September 2020. The gathering took place in Don Bosco Technical Secondary School – Kokopo. The theme was the same as proposed by the SYM-PGS and the Strenna of the Rector Major 2020: Forming Good Christians and Upright Citizens. Being strangers to the Don Bosco’s system, this was a very fitting occasion to remind us young people that we share the same Salesian values as any other Bosconian because we belong to the Salesian EPC of Kokopo. The participants came from DBTSS Catholic Boarding Students, Catholic Communities of Palnakaur, Tobera, Ramale, Malagunan, Nordup, Bitagalip and Livuan. For the first time in its kind, the parish was able to bring together 190 youths registered.
The youth leaders from the above communities were oriented for couple of Sundays by the parish priest in the planning process. The objectives for the camp were to help these youngsters to know, understand and appreciate the Strenna of the Rector Major for 2020; to develop firm convictions about the need to take care of the earth; to take home a beautiful experience of youthful prayer, Bosconian joy and camaraderie with other young people; and invite them to be models of a good Christian and upright citizen at home, in the school and in their Church community.
On day one, upon registration, the youth were immerse in a deep moment of prayer organized by the Salesian Sisters together with other animators. Then came a new thing-to-do for those who were not Don Bosco students: the good night talk. Fr. Albert challenged them to be candles in their own communities to light the different dark environment in which plenty young people find themselves. On Saturday, the day started with fun morning games, a prayerful Eucharistic celebration animated by the Don Bosco community. Then came the first talk on Laudato Si where Sr. Pamela, FMA made a very simple and down to earth insight for the young to understand to letter of Pope Francis. She put her message in a play for the youth to grasp and be challenged. During mid-day, we had a Vocation Forum: SDB, FMA, ADMA, Cooperators, and we gave occasion the Sacred Heart Seminary for diocesan option. In the afternoon, the second talk was on Youth and Citizenship. Bro Alfred Tarvilip, Christian Brother, brought the young people in the context of PNG now that it is about to celebrate 46 years of its independence. His key question was, as a young person of my parish and village, proud to be son of the country, how will I contribute to build this nation? The night became so vibrant when young people had to show their being young in dance and singing. The cultural night ended with the good night talk of fr. Moise in which he highlighted the words of St. Philip Neri: Run, Jump, make Noise but do not commit sin.
The third day was more on the celebration of the Eucharist. The parish priest, Fr. Moise presided over the mass. It was followed by the resolution taking, the award of certificate to the participants and the gift of tree as integration of the Laudato Si message.
One of the youth leaders, Patrick Norbert, thanked the Salesian family in his speech on behalf of the participants. He thanked to the local benefactors for their sponsorship. He mostly acknowledge the work of the facilitators and animators for a wonderful program. “As many of us have expressed it already in our laughter, this will remain a memorable gathering in which not only we made friends but we felt at home, we felt that we belong to a church very alive. We promise our catechists, parents and our priests that we will live up to what we have learnt,” said Christina, Malagunan youth leader.
With her words indeed, we thank the Lord and our Blessed Virgin Mary, the Help of Christians for a successful and memorable program.