By Ms. Joan Eko
Don Bosco Technical School Gabutu, Port Moresby PNG, 18 February 2021 -- Held on Wednesday, 17 February, the theme of the celebration was “Give and it shall be given back to you” Luke 6:38. Archbishop Francesco Panfilo, SDB, was the main celebrant accompanied by the School Rector, Fr. Pedro Sachitula, SDB. Joining the celebration with the students was the Salesian Community, the teaching staff and ancillary staff, students and a few parents and parishioners.
In his homily, Archbishop Panfilo, reminded the school of the meaning of Lent as a journey towards the resurrection of our Lord Jesus and pointed out its goal: “Every year we are reminded to celebrate the Lenten Season and the goal of this Season is precisely to arrive at the Glory of the resurrection of Jesus more prepared, transformed and changed to a better person,” he said. This goal is achieved through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. He further elaborated that 40 days of Lent recall the 40 years the people of Israel passed through the desert in-order to enter the Promised Land and the 40 days and nights our Lord Jesus spent in the desert before starting his ministry.
His message to the school community was an invitation to pray more and to pray better during this time of Lent; to get closer to our Lord Jesus; to fast from things we do not really need and to share what we save from our fasting to the needy. The Archbishop left a challenge: “If at the end of Lent ‘SP’ beer (South Pacific) does not lose money; if at end of lent SP beer makes the same amount of money, it means that our Lenten exercises will have failed; we are not good Catholics/Christians.”
Fr. Pedro thanked Archbishop Panfilo for presiding over the Mass and assured him of prayers of the school community as he leaves Papua New Guinea for the Philippines and then on to Italy. Fr. Pedro also reminded the audience that in 2016 Archbishop Francesco Panfilo was given the title of ‘Chief’ by the government of Papua New Guinea On the occasion of the 41st Independence Anniversary of the Country. The title ‘Grand Companion of Order of Logohu (GCL) is the highest order in the honors system in PNG. ‘Logohu’ is a Motuan word for the bird-of-paradise, The national symbol of PNG. Archbishop Panfilo was awarded this honor for His outstanding contribution in the pastoral care, leadership, education and technical training of the young in the country.
After the Mass there followed a program to mark the formal opening of the academic year 2021 with presentation of awards of continuing students from 2020.