Bereina diocese - parish youth leaders leadership training and Laity workshop
October 21st to 28th Bereina diocese hosted a parish youth leaders' leadership training at De Boismenu Diocesan Pastoral Center, Kubuna, organized and conducted by CBC secretary of the Commission for Youth and Laity, Fr. Shanthi Chacko Puthussery PIME. Nineteen leaders from 10 parishes of the diocese have participated in it and five parishes have missed the opportunity. Among the 19, two of them were married and over 25years old; and the others all were age between 15 and 25. Three students from Mainohana Vocational Training School, a catechist from Woitape parish and a Novice of AD Sisters have also participated in the training.
On 28th Sunday the participants animated the Holy Mass at Mary Mother of the Church parish, Kubuna at 9 am and in the afternoon they did two hours of presentation of their learnings to the same parishioners from 3 to 5 pm.
Prior to the leadership training Fr. Shanthi gave awareness talk about the current situation of the young people in Papua New Guinea to the students of Mainohana Vocational Training School, Mainohana Secondary School, St. Gerard's CHW Training School and Grade eight students of St. paul's Primary School as well as at different communities of the Veifa'a's parish from 9th to 20th October.
After the youth leadership training, he had a workshop with 17 pastoral workers of the Bereina dioceses from 30th October to 1st November. All the participants have very much appreciated his sessions on eight stages of life, four areas of formation, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, Vocation and seven qualities of authentic Christian leadership. Everyone has felt that this workshop has been a process whereby each one engages and experiences something of faith rather than doing mere learnings, discussions and activities.
The sessions on Transmission of Faith have made the participants to realize their weaknesses of not learning it by praying personally, praying at home, reading and reflecting from the bible and familiarity with the history/biography of saints. The meditation sessions, sacrament of reconciliation and inner healing prayer have made aware to everyone is that more than the mere oral sessions on faith, there is a dare need of having more practical applications of faith and faith practices in the families and parishes, even in the primary and secondary schools as part of their faith learning exercises.
Joe Koeba of Yule Island parish said that "it is very true that if we are not praying personally and praying at home, how we are going to understand what is faith and prayer. These sessions made very clear to me that the failure of personal and family prayer are affecting our faith transmission to the younger generations and such failures affect our community too because prayer and faith practices give a sense of direction for our life." Further he said that "now it is very clear to me that why young generations are not praying and not interested in the Church because they did not learn and experience from the adults, parents and from the family how to pray, read and reflect the bible. Somehow we are responsible for our younger generations for their lack of faith and faith practices."
Andrew Paike of Inauaia parish has expressed that "this workshop opened my eyes to understand that faith simply means that I need to be regular with my personal prayer and family prayer; without them talking about faith is a waste of time. Also I have to read the bible regularly and pray with it so that I understand and experience what faith is in a better way." All the 17 participants shared their experiences with almost same interest. They are looking forward to materialize these learnings in a more organized way at every parish. Everyone was grateful to Fr. Shanthi's teachings and his availability to Bereina diocese for these workshops.
I was very happy and privileged to participate in these youth leadership training and laity workshop because they helped me to learn, understand and experience the depth of these workshops and the need of having such workshops in the dioceses of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. He is very systematic, creative, practical, inspirational, spiritual and very much available to every participant. For Fr. Shanthi this was the 11th diocese for this year to run the same type of Youth Leadership Training from his office and it has really challenged every participant of the trainings. Next year he will be continuing the same leadership training in the rest of the other 11 dioceses of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
Fr. John Paul Aihi