It’s been quite awhile since I wrote a 7 Quick Takes post, before I came to Papua New Guinea as a lay missionary. So, it’s about time that I wrote one with a South Pacific perspective.
Would it surprise you to learn that dioceses in Papua New Guinea take the issue of child abuse prevention as seriously as in other parts of the country? At least here in the Archdiocese of Madang they do. Archbishop Stephen Reichert is strongly promoting a program of education throughout Catholic institutions in this extremely large diocese.
Sister Mary Claud, former archdiocesan headquarters administrator, has spent the last 10 months visiting parishes, schools, and other Catholic institutions, informing everyone about the issue of child abuse and PNG’s progressive law to prevent it.
PNG is a signer of the UN convention on children’s rights and patterned their national law from it. It very clearly outlines the rights of children, the responsibilities of adults, police, and judges. As in all such things, it’s the implementation and education that will be the determining factor. PNG currently has a dismal record, ranking near the bottom of the world’s nations. I really hope these efforts bear fruit for this troubled nation.
Sister Mary Claud gave her 4-hour presentation at St. Fidelis Seminary this week.
Conclave fever is strong here at St. Fidelis Seminary College where I’m teaching. All the events and discussions surrounding Benedict XVI’s retirement has been of great interest among the seminarians. We’re doing our best to keep them informed about the gathering of cardinals, the pre-conclave meetings and speculations about the next pope. We will be glued to the news like everyone else when the conclave begins next Tuesday.
I’ve been working on my US income tax filing. Some things are impossible to escape! Many thanks to my sister for scanning all the important mail that has come since I left. I managed to finish them this morning and get enough of a refund to pay for my trip home in November. Just so you know, working on your taxes in a tropical climate does not make it any easier or more enjoyable.
I have to admit that I’m really sad to be missing out on all the March Madness excitement. Since my college days I’ve had a great interest the NCAA basketball tournament. My alma mater Oklahoma State University is currently ranked 13th, not a bad place to be and a sure shot to make the tournament. Sadly, what with the time change between North America and PNG, I probably won’t learn about any of the games until long after they’re finished. Ah well, such is the life of a missionary.
This Saturday is “town day”, the once a month day when the seminarians are allowed off school grounds and are taken into the town of Madang. I get to go into town at least once a week and really forward to getting off campus each time. I’m sure the students are duly excited to escape for awhile too.
I saw my first rugby game on Wednesday. “Touch” rugby actually. I’ve learned that rugby is the national sport of PNG and favored by the people of the Highlands. I have to say, although I only know the simplest essentials of the game, I can see why they like it. The professional leagues in Australia, which everyone watches here, are beginning their seasons. I’m looking forward to seeing the “pros” in full contact action.
I have been blessed to meet at least 6 Catholic missionaries that have spent 30-50 years in PNG. Like their predecessors, they have been real pioneers. Coming to the country while it was still administered by Australia and continuing their work since independence in 1975, they have a wealth of experience, spiritual insight, and cultural awareness that I’ll never come close to in the short time that I’ll be here. I am so glad to have met each one of them.
See other “Quick Take Friday” posts over at ConversionDiary.com