2nd Assembly of PNG and Solomons Catholic Church begins

The Second General Assembly of the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands began in Madang on Wednesday 5 November.

This is the  first time  Papua New Guinea and Solomon islands have held a conjunct General Assembly.

The theme of the  Assembly is “Give me some water that I amy never be thirsty again”

Each of the 3 dioceses in the  Solomon Islands and 19 diocese in Papua New Guinea has been invited to send 6 participants; three men, a Bishop a priest and a layman, and three women, one of who is a member of a religious order.

On Tuesday  the hosting President of Divine Word University, Fr. Jan Czuba,reminded the participants of the challenges for the Church in the Pacific in this time of changes. “Values and doctrines do not change,” he said, “but the ways we live, learn and take risks change”.

Archbishop Douglas Young of Mt. Hagen traced the immediate motivation of the General Assembly to the April 2013 Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea on the “Year of Faith” generating an “Assembly of Faith”, that may be able to generate in its turn a witnessing community.

The key question to guide the reflection and prayer of the General Assembly is  “What is God asking of us now as Church of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea?” It is hope that the deliberation on this question may inspire a five-year pastoral plan.

The General Assembly coordinator Fr. Roger Purcell, says the New Evangelisation is the horizon of the General Assemby while the original source of it is the Vatican Council 2 and the renewal it brought about.

Continuity was also stressed by Archbishop Steven Reichert  Madang with the first post Vatican Council 2 comprehensive “self-study “ of the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea in 1992 and the first General Assembly in Vunapope, Rabaul in 2004.

On Wednesday morning Dr. Catherine Nongkas of Divine Word University, Madang delivered her key note address  on “Year of Faith, New Evangelization”

In her address she high-lighted the widespread and deepening trend of secularization.

“Faith and Christian way of living are no longer broadly accepted in many quarters – she said”.

The number of practicing faithful seems to be dwindling. At the same time faith needs to challenge the culture, both traditional and modern. Christianity calls for life in a community and this provides an alternative to rampant individualism. Traditional sorcery believes, urban poverty and the breakdown of the family become the environment of the witnessing of faith.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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