By Abigail Seta and The Record Staff
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton have last week attended the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania assembly in Papua New Guinea.
The FCBCO opening Eucharistic celebration was held at Caritas Technical School, Boroko on Thursday 12 April.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State to His Holiness Pope Francis, was the principal celebrant of the Mass.
Bishops, priests, and lay faithful were among the near 2000 who gathered for the celebration.
In his homily, Cardinal Parolin spoke about the importance of being united in the Church.
“The Church is Apostolic precisely because she is founded on the teachings and examples of the apostles and upon their apostolic structure. Reading the Acts of the Apostles is a challenge to us. A challenge because we must try to emulate these acts,” he said.
He emphasised on the apostles’ obedience to God, stating that obedience to God comes before obedience to man.
The Cardinal encouraged those present to be obedient to the work of God and follow in the footsteps of Peter and the apostles.
At the end of the Mass, Port Moresby Archbishop, Cardinal John Ribat MSC, expressed his gratitude to Cardinal Parolin. He then thanked former PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, the congregation, delegates, and all the people who joined the celebration.
“It was wonderful to experience the warmth, spontaneity and the friendliness of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State as he stopped to bless the people present,” a member of the congregation said.
On 16 April, the FCBCO group visited and spent time with students at the La Salle Technical College, Hohola.
With enthusiasm and vigour, the students welcomed the Bishops and Cardinals to their school as Motuan dancers in traditional attire led them to the school hall.
Brother Rick Gaffney, La Salle Technical College Principal, welcomed the guests.
“Your visit today is a great support to our college community,” Br Gaffney stated.
“As a Catholic agency school, the interest you have shown us has affirmed us in our endeavours for education, training and formation of young Christian men and women.”
Br Gaffney gave a brief history of the college and shared with the Bishops on the courses that are taken in the school.
The school captain and student representative Lamasapom Eddie gave an insight on the background of the students and the many challenges that they face.
“Many of us live in settlements and villages near Port Moresby and we face challenges which makes it hard for us to learn,” he said.
“The school helps students in many ways and it is a privilege for me to be a student here at La Salle Technical College.”
He thanked the Catholic Church for creating a college that gives each of the students’ great opportunities in their lives.
The FCBCO participants were then given a tour of the final year trade classes and were treated to a farewell procession by the Motuan dancers.