03/10/2012 07:57

PNG Catholic Professionals on a new path of responsibility

By Paul Harricknen-Lawyer.

A meeting of the Catholic Professionals was called on Saturday, 22 September 2012 at Holiday Inn, Port Moresby by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBC) General Secretary, Fr. Victor Roche SVD, and endorsed by the President of the CBC, Abp. John Ribat of Port Moresby. Also present were Bishops Rochus Tatamai of Bereina and Bernard Unabali of Bougainville, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, and Hon. Daniel Mona, Member for Goilala. About one hundred professionals attended from the all spectrum of politics, public service, business, NGOs and Church. Fr. Victor Roche gave a power point presentation about the “why”, “aims” and “future” of the “Catholic Professionals”. I had the honor to chair the meeting and in my overview I said that it was both an invitation and a challenge.

AN INVITATION. Each day every Catholic professional has to stand up and stand out to embrace his/her faith more purposefully. As we commence the Year of the Faith on 11 October 2012 we are invited to rekindle our faith in our personal lives and within our professions. As a lay Catholic professional how do I show my Catholic identity?

Furthermore, the journey of faith after the Second Vatican Council is about “togetherness”. We the professionals are also invited to stand together and walk together to face the challenges of the times. We have to seek out our role in the new evangelization and renewal during this Year of the Faith and beyond.

A CHALLENGE. We should ask ourselves: are we doing enough not only as material benefactors, but also as professionals standing up in defense of our faith and in support of our Church and her teachings. Or do we simply choose to sit back and accept whatever the world throws at us. Do we stand up for some matters of our faith from the Bible and Catechism as absolute truth and defend them or we fall to the relativists’ argument that there are no ultimate truths, no values and beliefs?

In the United States they have the Knights of Colombus, in Australia, the Knights of the Southern Cross and in Malta, the Knights of Malta. Should we have such a group in PNG? What happened to our Catholic doctors, nurses, teachers associations?

There is a growing decline in priestly and religious vocations. Much of the pastoral work and other ministries in the Church are already falling heavily on the laity. How do we Catholic professionals support this work? How do we support and keep the priests who are in ministry?

How do we support and keep the Catholic faithful who are still in the Church? How do we bring back those who have left the Church? These are some important questions and challenges facing the Church in these times.

It was generally felt that more needs to be done in the areas of education, information and knowledge of the catechism and the Church teachings for the Church faithful and members. The Church has to do more on ongoing formation of its members to be confident, faithful and to hold the necessary knowledge to defend their faith.

A working committee of five members will meet and come up with suggestions for the way forward.