By KEVIN PAMBA
CATHOLIC parents ought to encourage their children to join the Church’s ministry of evangelisation and the complementary social teachings and social services by taking up vocation for the priesthood and consecrated religious life.
Outgoing Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Madang Stephen Reichert made the call after Mass at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Madang town last Sunday.
The Archbishop made the appeal when announcing the arrival of three nuns from Tanzania in Africa later this year.
Reichert said the archdiocese was pleased to get the three Tanzanian nuns who are specialists in catechetical work, training lay people to be catechists and religious instruction (RI) teachers.
He said the current sisters in the archdiocese were doing a great job in the various ministries they were engaged but there is still a need for more nuns along with priests and brothers to advance evangelisation and the associated social teaching and social services.
Reichert said one area that the archdiocese is in need of manpower is in religious instruction (RI) in primary schools, high schools and secondary schools.
The archbishop anticipates the Tanzanian nuns would assist with training lay people to take up this important role in growing the faith among Catholic students. He said in Madang town, there were over 1,000) Catholic students in Tusbab Secondary School and the non-Catholic primary schools and they needed RI teachers in their schools.
Reichert appealed to Catholic parents to consider encouraging some of their children to join the Church ministry as priests, brothers and sisters.
His appeal follows on from his ongoing encouragement of the Catholic faithful to support the work of the Church, especially when 2019 is the “Year of Laity” in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands as approved by the Bishops Conference of both countries.
The appeal is not unique to the Archdiocese of Madang but shared by dioceses across PNG amidst the country’s myriad of socio-economic problems and a population boom. In addition to its primary role of evangelisation of Jesus Christ’s teachings, the Catholic Church is well-regarded for its strong social teaching and social services especially in education and health offered to the poor and marginalized which help to address many of the societal problems.
The more manpower the Church can have, the better it would be for it to enhance its evangelization work and social teachings and services. The appeal by Archbishop Reichert resonates with the words of Jesus Christ as recorded in Luke 10:2: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
One of the pivotal figures in the Catholic Church history, Pope Saint Gregory 1 the Great (who served as Pope between 590 and 604 AD) once expressed the following in a homily (sermon) based on the above passage over 1,400 years ago: “It is indeed regrettable that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.
“There is no shortage of people to hear the Good News.
“What is missing are people to spread it!”