Port Moresby (Fides Service) – Archbishop Brian James Barnes of Port Moresby will celebrate Christmas mass at the local prison: “It has become a tradition every year to pay a visit to the prison at Christmas. We celebrate Mass and share a meal with the prison inmates and staff. They make us very welcome and there is a great spirit of Christmas joy. The message of Christmas restores hope to all humanity. Christ brings salvation for everyone and especially for those who have little hope and comfort” the Archbishop told Fides.
There is Midnight Mass in every parish and special activities for children. “Children are all important in Papua New Guinea’s culture. Special care is given to their education in customs to ensure that tradition is handed down from one generation to the next. Since Christmas celebrates the birth of the Child, it fits well into the PNG mindset. For all our children the Child Jesus is a model and a friend ” the Archbishop said.
Christmas in Papua New Guinea is also a time for solidarity. Besides the traditional Christmas concerts and Nativity plays, diocesan schools throughout the territory organise collections for children in need.
The Archbishop concludes with his own message of peace and good will: “Although thousands of kilometres apart, we are in deep communion with the Holy Father and we always watch the liturgical celebrations in Rome thanks to satellite television. On the occasion of Christmas this year, I take the opportunity to wish peace to all those countries suffering from situations of war, where Christmas will find people suffering”.
(PA) (Fides Service 23/12/2003 lines 25 words 281)