Funding for a Pastoral Program in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea covers an area slightly larger than California, though it has just 6.7 million inhabitants. The territory also covers more than 600 islands, which can only be reached by air or by boat. Where it is not possible to travel by air, by boat or by car, the priests and pastoral workers have to travel on foot. This is the case for the Archdiocese of Port Moresby, which was established in November 1966. Since then not only has the number of Catholics grown steadily in Papua New Guinea, but also the social importance of the Catholic Church has greatly increased.
Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, is something of a melting pot. Having grown steadily over the years, it is now home to people of all kinds of different origin, ethnicity, language, culture and religious persuasion. "The 600,000 or so inhabitants, of whom many are Catholics, come from every part of the country, as well as from neighboring countries and from overseas," emphasizes Archbishop John Ribat. Since taking office in March of 2008, he has launched a pastoral program that retains its validity today. "In order to prevent this variety from degenerating into division, we want to strengthen the sense of togetherness within the Archdiocese and build on the spirit of solidarity among the faithful and their priests, and between the various parishes and other pastoral groupings," he adds.
There are some 300,000 Catholics living in the Archdiocese of Port Moresby. This number is an estimate, since there are no reliable statistics. The diocese is subdivided into 19 parishes and also maintains 100 primary and secondary schools, as well as two hospitals. In some cases the distances between the individual parishes are considerable. In the past there was little contact between the various parish priests on account of the very poor infrastructure.
But now, and at the express wish of the priests themselves, all the 70 priests of the diocese (roughly 2/3 of whom belong to religious congregations) regularly meet at the Archbishop's house to exchange ideas and experiences. "As a result, the understanding of the various
demands on the pastoral ministry in the parishes has grown, whether in the country or in the town,” the Archbishop reports.
There is also closer co-operation and coordination between other initiatives within the archdiocese. There is now a service of medical volunteers, helping in the field of health care for mothers and their children and in alcohol prevention; this, according to the vicar general, Father Roderigo Campilan, is supporting hundreds of people and benefiting thousands of others. And a coordinator for Catholic education has also been appointed, who will supervise the teaching of the faith and the religious instruction, both in the Church schools and in the state schools.
Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, ACN is supporting this three-year pastoral program in the archdiocese with a contribution of $50,600.
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.