PASTORAL and RELIGIOUS SERVICES MINISTRY


By Fr. Timothy Elliot ofm

In the decades since the close of the Pacific War our pastoral orientation has shifted from missionary priests and sisters to what we term in pisin as lokal sios. As missionaries we came to share Christ and His church with West Sepik people as they were being awakened to a wider world which threaten their survival. The majority have accepted our invitation; they now form our local church, with increasing participation in its prayer-life and ministry. Many of us stay on to walk with them, as our local priests, professed brothers and sisters, and lay ministers come to assume our roles of pastoral care and administration.

As a church organization, the mainstream work of the Diocese over the years involved evangelizations and strengthening of the Christian faith of the people. In this respect the following pastoral and religious services have been provided and are currently maintained by the Diocese, including:

As part of pastoral and religious services, there are eleven Religious Congregations who have established in the Diocese and have provided priests, sisters and brothers for pastoral and religious and social services and administration work. Since the Diocese officially became a Diocese in 1966, 15 Religious Congregations were involved. The ones include the Franciscan Friars (1965), the Diocesan Priests, the Spiritan Priests (1981), the St. John of God Brothers (1988), the Patrician Brothers (1968), the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of Immaculate Conception, the Poor Clare Sisters (1970), the Presentation Sisters (1966), the Sisters of St. Therese (1980), the Marianitas Sisters (1996) and the Handmaids of the Lord Sisters (1976).

Apart from the many achievements stated above, the analysis carried out on this main program identified the following issues of concern to be taken into account in new plan: