Boroko (Agenzia Fides) – “‘The first duty of the priest or religious is to pray regularly for the people entrusted to their care’. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope’s Francis’ secretary of state said this in an address to priests, religious sisters and brothers, and seminarians of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands gathered in the Catholic church of St Joseph in Boroko, Port Moresby. “Prayer arises from and strengthens our friendship with Jesus; it is the place where ‘heart speaks to heart’,” said Cardinal Parolin as he addressed the over two hundred religious that attended the Eucharistic celebration and the conference thereafter.
In a report to Fides on the event, Fr. Joseph Vnuk, rector of the Catholic Institute of Theology in Bomana, Port Moresby, underlined that the Vatican secretary of State recalled the prayerfulness, the fidelity and the joy as well as the dedication of the early missionaries and the death of several hundred of people connected with the Catholic Church during the war, in particular the first Papuan to be proclaimed Blessed, Peter ToRot.
The Cardinal , who was in Papua for a meeting of FABC Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences which closed recently, encouraged the participants to be faithful the example of those courageous Christians and to avoid being influenced by the wantoksystem, for instance, ‘while very beautiful in the way it cares for those in need, could easily turn religious brothers or sisters away from the people they are meant to serve. “Fidelity to the mission, and fidelity to service, will prevent priests and religious from staying in their comfort zones and ignoring the people on the margins.”, the Cardinal added.
Fr. Joseph Vnuk told Fides that Joy was the third and final topic of cardinal Parolin’s talk where he noted that both Pope Francis' first encyclical - Evangelii Gaudium- The joy of the Gospel - and his most recent - Gaudete et Exsultate- Be glad and Exult - have joy as a theme. “There is only one sadness in the world - not to be holy”, said the Cardinal as he quoted a French author.
After his conference, a long question and answer session followed and Cardinal Parolin encouraged the congregation not to lose heart in a rapidly changing world. “There is no time unsuitable for living out one's baptismal calling. There is no time when it is not good to be a religious sister or brother”, said the Cardinal.
He also spoke of Pope Francis' new style of papacy and how this is being taken up by those who work in the Vatican. Finally, he encouraged priests and religious to take part in the work of reconciliation and bringing peace. (AP/AP) (24/4/2018 Agenzia Fides)