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Highlights from the 3rd PGS Provincial Chapter

By Fr. Ambrose Pereira, SDB

Boroko, Port Moresby PNG, 13 April 2024 -- The 3rd Provincial Chapter of the vice-province of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands commenced on 10 April and concluded on 12 April 2024. Sixteen members from different settings representing the confreres of the vice-province were present at the event. Together with the rest of the Salesian Congregation, the members reflected on the theme of GC29: “Passionate about Jesus Christ, dedicated to young people.”

Opening the Chapter, Fr Gregorio Bicomong, Provincial, invited the confreres to a process of conversion. Dwelling on the Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:5-42), he highlighted four aspects: Falling in love, Committing in love, Growing in love, and Sharing the love. He reminded the participants that we are not NGOs but are passionate about Jesus as we reach out to evangelize the young.

The Moderator of the Chapter, Fr Pedro Sachitula, then presented the members with the working document, a synthesis of the responses sent in by the members of the vice-province. These were collated by Fr Pedro Sachitula and synthesized with the help of Fr Gregorio Bicomong, Fr Ariel Macatangay, and Fr Ambrose Pereira.

The Chapter members hail from the Philippines (5), India (5), Papua New Guinea (2), Angola (1), Vietnam (1), Congo (1), and Sri Lanka (1). Br. Peter Khai, elected substitute, took the place of the late Fr Edwin Genovia, who passed away on 5 March. The Chapter had one member who attended a Chapter for the first time. Fr Roger Miranda together with Cl. Thomas Warwar did the painstaking task of the Secretariat.

The opening Eucharist was celebrated on 11 April by Bp. Peter Baquero SDB, Bishop of Kerema. He invited the members to reflect on their motivation for being evangelizers rather than mere service providers. “Your consecrated life reflects the Risen Christ,” he said.

The day’s proceedings opened with the state of the province report presented by Fr Gregorio. It touched on vocations, the extraordinary visitation recommendations, and our relationship and responsibility towards our lay mission partners and members of the Salesian Family. This was followed by the Financial Report by Fr Srimal Priyanga Silva, Economer of the PGS Vice-Province.

The members were divided into two groups, and each group was entrusted with a key topic and the reflections of the juridical topics for GC29. Group secretaries Fr. Ariel Macatangay and Fr. Bernard Kaiau presented the discussions of the topics assigned. Discussions, clarifications, and interventions then followed, after which the final document was approved by the members of the Chapter. The members have elected Fr Pedro Sachitula as the PGS Vice-province delegate to the General Chapter, with Fr Ariel Magatangay as the substitute.

In this small vice-province where the members are focused on pastoral ministry and technical education for the young, several relevant issues were discussed. Evangelization of the culture; understanding the Melanesian culture and context for confreres, lay mission partners and volunteers; Salesian qualitative consistency and ongoing formation; community moments of prayer and togetherness; relevance of our work for the poor and the young; new initiatives and above all the care and formation of our lay mission partners were among some of them.

During their time together, the members of the chapter had the opportunity to discuss possibilities, share dreams, and coordinate programs for the good of the young. The Goodnights were given by Fr Srimal Priyanga and Fr Robinson Parappilly sharing reflections on working together and on our mission.

The Provincial Chapter concluded with a thanksgiving Eucharist celebrated by Fr Gregorio Bicomong. In the homily, he dwelt on Material Hunger, Spiritual hunger, and enhancing the possibility of every young person to be a leader and protagonist today. He thanked the members and invited all to offer love and compassion to the young. He invited all to be grateful as we prepare to give thanks to God for the 50 years of presence in Papua New Guinea. A souvenir of a missionary rosary was presented to every member to remind them of their missionary call and vocation.



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