OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Gathering of 1,500 young Papuans determined to follow Jesus in the spirit of World Youth Day

Thursday, 22 September 2005

Port Moresby (Fides Service) - At least 1,500 young Papuans determined to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ took part in a recent Youth Festival styled after this Summer’s great World Youth Day event in Germany in August. The Youth festival held at Don Bosco Technical School in the capital Port Moresby was organised by the local Salesian fathers on the occasion of visit to Papua by Salesian Rector Major Fr. Pascual Chavez. The theme of the gathering which proved an important occasion of formation and prayer for young Catholics from all over the country was “Remembering, celebrating and commitment”.
The Day started with Mass during which the young Papuans promised in response to a call launched by Pope Benedict XVI to young people in Cologne at World Youth Day to live their vocation and mission “to the full”. The Day continued with games, music, dance as well as serious reflection.
Special mention was made of Fr Stefano Savio, known and loved in Oceania thanks to Salesian missionaries. In his address the Rector said, “following the example of don Bosco, to educate we must be humble, simple, poor and give priority to other and help those in need” and he called on the young people to share positive experiences, and work, listen and pray together.
Priests and educators present noted that young people provide a privileged field for evangelisation and a test for the effectiveness of pastoral care. Papua New Guinea has serious problem with crime among youth. A concerning situation which educators and civil and religious leaders strive to address with various initiatives.
This year the Salesians are celebrating the 25th year of their presence at the service of the Papuan people with schools, and technical colleges, oratories, youth activities. Through these 25 years many boys and girls have benefited from their ministry and many have escaped the trap of crime, drug abuse and exploitation.
The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea has various schools and youth centres. And in fact 70% of country’s schools are run by the different Christian Churches
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 22/09/2005 Righe: 27 Parole: 278)