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Reflections of our experience at the Rectors’ Meeting

By Fr. Jojo Garcia

Port Moresby, PNG 1 December 2023 -- Papua New Guinea, the land of the unexpected, welcomed delegates from six different countries in the most unexpected way. After arriving at the airport, two delegates from the Philippines missed their luggage due to the airline’s snafu. Fortunately, the welcoming community of the vice-province of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands (PGS), immediately helped and bought new clothes for the delegates. Another delegate arrived at the airport after a long delay and was worried about the pickup arrangement. Not knowing anyone and with no means of contact, he asked for the help of someone at the information desk. When he mentioned the name of Don Bosco, not only did they dial the number but they even handed over their personal phone for him to continue the conversation.

The generosity and warm welcoming spirit of the PGS Province have impressed us with much warmth and gratitude. Through them Don Bosco’s name has resonated in the hearts of ordinary people of gratitude and delight who are ready to always help.

The work and service of the Salesians in this part of the world never ceases to amaze me, as well as all the other confreres. Some of us were able to visit places as far as Araimiri. Traversing this vast land, we have seen both the great progress and at the same time the deep-seated challenges: progress in infrastructures that were dreams; and challenges due to a crippling tribal mentality. The Salesians work hard amidst struggling health issues and malaria bouts. Yet, they remain hell-bent in pursuing the best for the young. They are rewarded with grateful and modestly employed students in every walk of life.

The meeting held from 19 to 24 November at the PGS Provincial House, itself could not be any better. The sessions dealt with - 1. The importance of AI and how it affects our lives, was presented by Fr Ambrose Pereira SDB; 2. The challenges towards an authentic leadership were presented by Fr Gregorio Bicomong SDB; 3. The different issues concerning Rectors and confidentiality by Fr Anthony Duong SDB; and 4. Fr Frank Maloney SDB on the biblical foundations of religious life. The talks, although savvy and filling in themselves, would not be complete without confreres just being brothers and sharing together.

Thank you confreres for opening your doors and sparing nothing to make the delegates comfortable and at home. Thank you for the wonderful work, the simplicity of life and again hammering into us that life is most enjoyable when we are ready to sacrifice unconditionally.


 

 

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