Port Moresby (Agenzia Fides) - The most significant contribution of consecrated persons to the Church of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands is the witness of their lives: say the Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in a pastoral letter on the occasion of the 'Year of Consecrated Life', sent to Agenzia Fides.
The letter, signed by Bishop Arnold Orowae, President of the Bishops' Conference, recalls what Pope Francis says in a letter to open the year of Consecrated Life. "The religious are especially called to a joyful, prophetic and total embrace of the Gospel life in a rich variety of charisms expressing countless ways of combining fervent prayer and apostolic zeal".
"The distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophecy - the text continues - and challenged those consecrated to God to have the wisdom and courage to “wake up a world” asleep in comfortable compromises, to shake humanity".
"Pope Francis – stress the Bishops - also said things that apply especially to our situation in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. He said that men and women consecrated to God are expected to be 'experts in communion'. Their life together in community is a witness to a world that is broken and divided". In Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, this is a call to "overcome differences" between ethnic groups, generations, religions existing in society.
Also "in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the creation of local indigenous congregations of religious women has been a powerful counter-cultural proclamation of the dignity of women in a society where their rights are often ignored". "In Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the Church provides most of the education and health services and it is a ministry carried out mainly by consecrated men and women".
"But their most significant contribution to the local Church is their presence and the witness of their lives. They continue to enliven young local Churches by proclaiming inaction the richness of a Gospel life in Christ through a variety of distinctive charisms and spiritualities. It could be said that this is their major contribution to a new evangelization", the text concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 05/05/2015)