RECTOR MAJOR ARRIVES IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The early morning arrival of Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, Rector Major at Jackson’s International airport, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on April 30th is filled with much excitement and happiness. The Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands’ Delegation headed by Fr. Peter Baquero, SDB, together with other Salesian Priests, Brothers, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, students and staff’s representatives from Don Bosco Technological Institute, East Boroko, Port Moresby and Don Bosco Technical School, Gabutu, Port Moresby and Oro Cultural group warmly welcome Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, Rector Major and the 10th successor of St. John Bosco together with him for the official visit are Fr. Vaclav Klement, Regional Councillor for East Asia-Oceania, Fr. Horacio Lopez, Rector Major's Secretary and other personnel from Italy who cover the visit of the Rector Major.
At the airport, the students happily greeted him saying “Viva, Don Bosco!” Viva Don Angel! At the gate of the campus, The Rector Major had a traditional welcome done by Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The washing of his feet done by the representative from AROB together with some prayers and traditional rite symbolizes the warm and important welcome of a very special person in a Melanesian culture’s context. Similarly, the Rector Major acts as a Good Shepherd to his flock in PNG. As he entered the gate, he sat on a chair lifted up by students on his way to Emmaus Conference Centre where the Salesian delegation resides.
At Emmaus, Fr. Peter introduced Fr. Louie Castañeda, SDB, DBTI Rector, Fr. Danny Torres,SDB, Vice-Provincial, Sr. Alice Fulgencio, FMA, FMA Superior together with the other Sisters. Through Br. Jess Garcia, SDB, Delegation Economer, Fr. Angel’s expression of gratitude in Spanish was translated in English. “I am very happy for the warm welcome from the airport until here (DBTI). Thank you to the Salesian priests, brothers, sisters and the whole Salesian family. If Don Bosco would have been alive, for sure he would visit you here in Papua New Guinea. I came here to fill up the physical distance which really doesn’t exist for we are all one as a Salesian family. Despite my 32 hours of long trip from Italy to Papua New Guinea, I am very happy to be with you. With a few days of my stay, we will have more chances to pray together through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians.” Fr. Angel said.
At 8 o’clock in the morning , the whole student body welcomed him warmly through Philip Kaigo, SRC Presidents’ speech and some cultural item presentations from AROB, Milne Bay, Central and Manus cultural groups. The Rector Major in his gratitude speech said that the students should be convinced that Don Bosco is their midst and that Don Bosco is truly happy to see the young having a bright future. As he quoted the words of Don Bosco “I want you to be happy here and eternity”. Some members of staff who rendered long services for more than 10 years were also recognized in the short program.
In the evening, the delegation prepared a dinner. The Rector Major was gladly joined by His Excellency Peter O’ Neill, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Most Reverend Michael Banach, Apostolic Nuncio of PNG, Archbishop John Ribat, Archbishop of POM and other special guests. The Prime Minister acknowledged and commended the contributions of Don Bosco in the country particularly on the technical aspect.
The next day he visited Don Bosco Technical School Gabutu, the Savio Haus Aspirante and Mary Our Help ladies’ dormitory. Before he departed for Solomon Islands’ visit, he concelebrated in the Salesian Family Thanksgiving Mass with Archbishop Francesco Panfilo, SDB as the main celebrant followed by the blessing of the new statue of Don Bosco beside the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians. He had a chance to be with the ADMA, Salesian Cooperators and Past Pupils Association. The dinner was spent together with the Salesian Priests and Brothers having conference and item presentations at Emmaus.
Next day pictures: