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By Fr. Joseph Thanh,SDB

       Araimiri Parish of Mary Help of Christians, PNG, 15 November 2022 -- The mission of Don Bosco Araimiri is always a good and valid reference point for all the Salesians of the Vice-province of Blessed Philip Rinaldi – PGS, after 42 years since this first PNG Salesian community opened in 1980.

       Thanks to the grace of God, last Sunday 13 November 2022, the parishioners of the mission parish of Mary Help of Christians Parish Araimiri joyfully welcomed bishop of Kerema, Pedro Baquero, SDB who came to visit and give the Sacrament of Confirmation to 35 youth in the parish and students of Don Bosco Araimiri Secondary School. In his homily, Bishop Baquero emphasised for the candidates and the faithful the importance of keeping and passing on the faith to the younger generations despite of the daily temptations and allurements.

       After the celebration of the Confirmation Eucharist, the parishioners continued celebrating another joy, when the bishop did the blessing and opening of the three new classrooms block for the lower primary students of Saint Dominic Savio Primary School in Herehere. The event was witnessed and acknowledged by the Catholic Education Secretary of Kerema diocese, Mr. Beno Karulos, and the Headmistress, Ms. Elizabeth Buri, Salesians of Don Bosco, MSI Sisters and all school teachers, students, parents as well by the parishioners. Thanks to the generous supports of the Salesian Missions Offices and many benefactors, the children in this mission are able to enjoy and benefit the basis education. This is an concrete approach of the Salesians to those in need in the locality, organising, carrying and support the early childhood education from kindergarten, elementary and primary levels.

       This mission area in the bush of Araimiri is a unique and special mission in the province. It is the first Salesian presence in the country 42 years ago. However, it still remains a young and fragile mission. The factors which cause all the challenges are many but mainly are the remoteness of the location; the poverty; the divisions among clans in the area; the low motivation, the different value perspectives and expectations of the people.

       Nonetheless, as true Salesian missionaries, sons of Don Bosco, we are always proud of the challenges we encounter in every mission. Indeed we have no super capability to do the mission but because we believe in the effective presence of our Lord in the mission. It is a true that not easy to work for and work with the poor people, but when we are able to recognise the face of Jesus in the face of our brothers and sisters, we will find the ways in order to approach closer to the them.

       After a lot of patient efforts in approaching and encouraging the Araimiri parish people to know about their faith in God and keep it in their lives, year by year the number of people receiving the sacraments is increasing. Thanks to the Salesian spirit we are trying to do everything with love not with constraint, with Salesian joy and hope. As Salesians in PGS Vice Province we continue to keep missionary spirit and are able to witness the daily miracles happening in the Mission. God does everything. Our good Lord loves his children and especially He loves those who follow him and work for his mission. We continue in this mission of God with joy, trusting in the continuous help of Don Bosco and Our Mother Help of Christians.

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