By Leo Paraha and Fr Ambrose Pereira SDB
Bomana, Port Moresby, PNG 24 May 2023 -- ‘Salesian Educators Today – The Yeast in the Dough’ was the theme of the retreat for the Salesian Lay Educators from Don Bosco Technical School, Gabutu (DBTS). It was held at the serene haven of Sivarai Namona Pastoral Centre, Bomana from 18 to 20 May 2023.
Sr Bebilyn OND, Steele Joe, and Fr Angel Sanchez sdb animated the different sessions. The celebration of sacraments and prayer sessions were celebrated by Fr Angelo Fazzini, Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb, DBTS Spiritual Moderator, and the Pastoral team.
The warm atmosphere and the beautiful and quiet environment just outside the city gave the participants the space to reflect on their lives and reconnect with God. They were also able to meditate, reflect and contemplate issues in their lives. ‘What is the purpose of my life? Who am I? Why am I a teacher? How can I be salt, light, and yeast in my world today?’ were some of the questions posed by the animators, during the sessions.
“As a first year teaching staff of DBTS, this retreat was a blessed and meaningful experience for me.I felt refreshed and renewed after the three days of quietness in nature. The sessions really helped me to identify my true self by reflecting back on my achievements, challenges and areas that need improvement. This wonderful experience taught me to appreciate the gift of being a teacher and a christian so that I can be a light and a salt to my students, family, community, and the country.” - Ms. Miller Aua, first year of teaching.
“Yeast works in silence, Freedom is to choose the higher good and be who we truly are, and like Mary, we need to stand out from the crowd”, were points that we stressed. “The guided questions, prayers, rosary, and Holy Mass helped in personal reflection and group sharing”, said Ms. Emmanuellah Babat.
The retreat was complimented with food shared abundantly to nourish everyone. Prayer moments included meditation, rosary, Eucharistic celebration, and sharing of experiences. The Sacrament of Confession and the symbol of the Cross signified the spirit of reconciliation as the educators nailed their sins on the Cross, thus turning away from all their downfalls, shortcomings, and setbacks as they prepared themselves for the Final Mass with a renewed resolution to start fresh as they resume regular duties.
"For this year's recollection, I had a nice experience. It's a new location that is calm and quiet. More importantly, the planning and the program were well organized. I enjoyed all the sessions and was able to share my own experiences in the group sharing," said Mr. Auya Kisava, as he spoke of his 9 years of teaching experience at DBTS.
“The atmosphere has been very warm and welcoming. It’s like I have never left my school, my home, and my family”, said Paulus Loko.
“All the staff members had a very reflective retreat as seen in their participation and sharing. They enjoyed the food and were able to rest and relax”, said Mr. Martin Dai, DBTS principal.
The Salesian Educators carry with them their zealous spirit and continue to form and teach the young.