Port Moresby, PNG, 18 November 2023 -- On the last full day of the EAO Formation of Formators Meeting, the participants heard a familiar expression yet one that sounded new: “To be a follower of Jesus, one had to be formed by the shape of the message of his life, death, and resurrection: Jesus is the formator par excellence!” This was one of the many points worth remembering from one of the three talks of Fr. Francis Moloney, who developed the theme “Jesus, the Formator par excellence.”
The host for the annual meeting of the formators from the East Asia Oceania (EAO) Region of the Salesians of Don Bosco was the Vice Province of Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands (PGS). The meeting commenced on the 13th and concluded on the 17th of November, 2023, and was held at the Emmaus Conference Centre, East Boroko.
It was the second week of the series of meetings that began with the delegates of formation of the different Provinces, followed by this one of the formators of the region, and will conclude with that of the New Rectors of the region. The participants for the Formation of Formators came from different provinces in the region: Australia-Pacific (AUL), China (CIN), Philippines North (FIN), Philippines South (FIS), Korea (KOR), Myanmar (MYM), and PGS. The participants came from 10 nations: Angola, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. Among the 22 participants was a lay formator with the delegation from FIN, Mrs. Ma. Socorro Villafania.
The meeting began on Monday evening, 13 November 2023, with the evening prayers, rosary and a good evening talk given by Fr. Gregorio Bicomong Jr., SDB, PGS Provincial, who welcomed the participants. The Papal Nuncio to PNG and members of the Salesian Family, and religious from the Don Bosco East Boroko area joined the participants at the welcome dinner in the courtyard of the Center.
The days that followed were enriching. They began with meditation and mass with morning prayers. In the evening, the group gathered for evening prayer, rosary, good night talk and dinner that was extended with an informal gathering with sharing of experiences. On Tuesday, there were various topics: “Religious as Leaders” by Fr. Greg Bicomong (PGS); “Don Bosco and Social Communication” by Fr. Andy Mendoza (FIS); “The Novelty of the New Ratio” by Bro. Raymond Callo (RMG). On Wednesday, Fr. Ambrose Pereira, the EAO Coordinator for Social Communication, dwelt on Artificial Intelligence and led the participants to reflect on two topics: “Young people and Mass Media” and “Challenges for Formation in a Digital Age.”
On Thursday, from morning to the first part of the afternoon, the PGS delegate for Formation, Fr. Pedro Sachitula, led the formators in the tour of various places. At the Caritas Technical Secondary School, run by the Caritas Sisters of Jesus, the participants were heartily welcomed by the Sisters, the educators and the students who performed various musical numbers. They proceeded to the Don Bosco Technical School in Gabutu, Port Moresby where they were welcomed by the Salesians, lay mission partners and students. They had a guided tour at the National Parliament and then took some time out at the National Museum and Art Gallery and the Nature Park. They returned to Emmaus Center where Fr. Anthony Nguyen (EAO Formation Coordinator) spoke about “Formators and Spiritual Accompaniment in a Digital Age.”
On Friday, Fr. Francis Moloney (AUL) gave three talks: “Jesus, the Par Excellent Formator,” “Formators and the Word of God,” and “Formators and Consecrated Life Today.” In the evening, for the prayers and dinner, the formators were joined by the aspirants of the PGS Vice-Province. The meeting ended with the Eucharistic celebration on Saturday morning.
In all the days of the meeting, time was given for the participants to share their thoughts and experiences. There was a lively exchange of insights. Among the participants were young priests (in quinquennium) from the PGS Vice-Province.
AUL-Pacific - Fr. Ioane Sinapati Afele, SDB
CIN - Fr. Joseph Julio Garcia, SDB
FIN - Fr. Jake Adrian Lopez, SDB, Fr. Joel Camaya, SDB, Fr. Tomas Gusmao De Carvalho, SDB, Mrs. Ma. Socorro Villafania
FIS - Fr. Rhine Marco Bollozos, SDB, Fr. Adrian Mendoza, SDB, Fr. Roneldo Vilbar, SDB
KOR - Fr. Felix Wee Wonseok, SDB, Fr. Kim Hyungsik, SDB
TLS - Fr. Erasto Dizon, SDB, Fr. Marlon Eleosida, SDB, Fr. Elmer Sicat, SDB, Bro. Ronnel Tiu, SDB
MYM - Fr. Leo Mang, SDB
PGS - Fr. Shoji Mathew, SDB Fr. Pedro Sachitula, SDB, Fr. Angel Sanchez, SDB, Fr. Bernard Kaiau, SDB, Fr. Ferdinandus Ola Amang, SDB, Fr. Peter Van, SDB
Facilitators and Resource Persons:
- Fr. Gregorio Bicomong, SDB (PGS Provincial)
- Fr. Adrian Mendoza, SDB (FIS)
- Bro. Raymond Callo, SDB (RMG)
- Fr. Ambrose Pereira, SDB (PGS)
- Fr. Anthony Nguyen, SDB (AUL)
- Fr. Francis Moloney, SDB (AUL)