From 25 to 30 November, 2019 a workshop was held in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) which saw the participation of 19 Diocesan Laity Coordinators from 17 of the 22 dioceses of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (CBC PNG/SI). The purpose was to prepare them to carry out the tasks outlined in the Bishops’ Conference Pastoral Letter for the year 2020: “Our Catholic Laity: Holy and Formed for Mission”. Another goal was that of exploring further the topics raised during the Missiological Symposium of the CBC PNG/SI held in September 2019 on the theme of the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019 “Baptized and Sent: the Church of Christ on Mission in the World”.
The topics were illustrated by the then PMS Director National, Fr. Valentine Gryk, SVD. The National Director also explained to the Laity Diocesan Coordinators the role and the purpose of the PMS. The PMS history shows how lay people through their prayer, sacrifice and charitable giving enabled the spreading of the mission into new lands and supported the birth and growth of new local Churches in dioceses all over the world (including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands).
The CBC Pastoral Letter for the Year 2020 was presented by the CBC General Secretary, Fr. Giorgio Licini, PIME. The Bishops suggested engaging local pastoral workers, priests and religious as resources to offer courses, workshops and ongoing programs for the various components of the People of God, so that the laity can grow as true witnesses of Christ in both their personal and professional lives. Their recommendation was that the formation began in families as a “domestic Church” that gives witness to the life in Christ. Lay men and women must include the Gospel in their daily lives, in their professions as well as in their own areas of competence in society life. Laity, formation and mission were key concepts in this meeting where the magisterium of the Holy Father was also talked about, in particular the Motu proprio Aperuit illis and the Laudato Si encyclical.
Other topics were discussed, such as themes related to the Social Doctrine of the Church: the life and dignity of the human person, rights and responsibilities, concern for the poor, the dignity of work and workers’ rights, care of the Creation and solidarity.