Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) From 22 to 24 April 2020, thirty boarders of Mary Our Help female hostel from East Boroko, in the Port Moresby neighborhood, attended the first Youth Encounter formation meeting proposed by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the S. Province Mary D. Mazzarello (FIL).

The one-month ‘’lockdown’ led the FMA to wonder what they could offer to boarders who had now finished the study program. Mary Help of Christians Community thus decided to propose the YE experience. The Youth Encounter Program (YE) is a formation program for young people from different backgrounds conceived by Msgr. Ping Molina (already deceased) of the Diocese of Virac in the Philippines, approved by the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines since 1986 as formation for young people. Based on the deepening of the Scriptures, it aims to form young people to bring the values of the Gospel to Christian communities and society.

Youth Encounter - papua Nuova Guinea (FIL)

Sister Alem Coching, Sister Carmencita Rodriguez, and Sister Alice Fulgencio guided the different moments, starting from the Gospel passage of the healing of the two blind men (Mt 9: 27-31). Taking to heart the request to participate actively and to be always present, the young women carried out all the activities with enthusiasm and commitment. Some identified themselves in the situation of the two blind men and others recognized that they were behaving like the crowd, wearing different ‘masks’ when meeting with people, and that they needed to be listened to and to hear more. During the testimonies of their companions they were happy, grateful, and even surprised, recognizing the storm they are going through in their lives, making themselves close through silent prayer or putting a hand on the shoulder of their friends. The recreations and moments of fraternity were regenerating times.

At the beginning of the experience, in sharing expectations, the boarders had expressed the desire to “experience a deeper relationship with Jesus through prayer and reflection, to know themselves and their companions better, and to be able to share their experience with other young people when they return to their villages.” In the end, in the verification, they wrote that all their expectations had been met beyond what they had hoped for.

In the three days of Youth Encounter, the Mornese spirit was palpable and alive, an experience that the boarders will not forget. On the final evening, they expressed their gratitude with words, songs, and dances, thanking the FMA for organizing this meeting for them.


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