PASTORAL LETTER TO CATHOLIC MEN
This is a spiritually beautiful letter that should be read by all Catholic men & their faimilies
Catholic Bishop's Conference of PNG & SI
Annual General Meeting in Alexishafen
A Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Men from the Catholic Bishops of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands
CATHOLIC MEN, FATHERS, LEADERS
Dear Catholic Men,
This letter is for you and to you because at this meeting of the Bishops you are at the centre of our discussions. You have a special and distinct role as Christian men, fathers and leaders in the family, in the Church and in society at large.
You have a dignified call to be Catholic men living your lives in imitation of Christ. For those who are married, you are called to show this special vocation of being married men, the joy and responsibility of being Christian fathers. As adult Christians, you are also called to be leaders following in the footsteps of Christ. You are called to be Christ like, sharing and participating in His role as shepherd or leader.
In our present day situation, we see that many men are dominated by materialistic and individualistic concerns and often indifferent to moral and ethical behavior. This situation calls for renewed vigour in your witness as members of the Church. The changes that are taking place rapidly affect you so much that you experience a loss of identity and are frustrated as you try to find your place and role in society and in the Church.
With your families, you men are caught up in this challenging situation in your daily lives in your homes, at work and in your leisure time. These first hand experiences you have of these situations and your Christian response to it, will enable the Church to discern and to revise its approaches in the field of evangelization and pastoral care. It is with these important considerations that we write to you to inform you of our growing concern regarding the specific and important role that you alone can fill in the society and in the Church today.
We acknowledge and compliment many among you, Catholic men, who are living your roles as Fathers and Leaders. In a particular way, in the light of the Holy Father's call to "put out into the deep" for a "new evangelization" in the new millennium, you are called to take up your rightful roles as leaders and co-evangelizers in the Church and as exemplary Christian leaders in society. We therefore urge you to learn from Jesus Himself, and from Saint Joseph, the Provider and Protector of the Holy Family.
This demands that you witness to the values of the Gospel. It calls you to:
- an openness to the Lord's call to holiness
- a more understanding and compassionate attitude towards your wife and women in general
- faithfulness to your wife
- spend more time with your families
- spend time reading, reflecting and praying the Scriptures
- be ready to give time to works of charity
- lead and form the young people placed under your charge
- be more attentive and in-tuned with the positive Melanesian cultural values
- support the work of the Church in your parishes and in your diocese
- seek to learn more about your role as Christian fathers and Christian leaders
- be ready to do honest work.
- organize support groups among yourselves
- do away with habits that hurt life, such as alcohol abuse, sex abuse, corruption, etc.
Your response to the call to holiness through your life as Catholic men, fathers and leaders, requires that you walk with the women, youth and the children. They need you and you need them to fulfill the command and commission by God to be head of the family. We call on you to own, accept and develop your gift as men, fathers and leaders.
You are responsible, as men, for the safety and the well being of the community. You will find self-esteem and satisfaction by discovering your role as protector in the Church and exercising it faithfully.
We, your bishops, are with you in our prayers and we stand by you and will walk with you in your journey of discernment, growth and maturity into the fullness of Christ's love.
May the Lord bless you in all that you aspire for as Catholic Fathers and Leaders and grant to you peace and joy in your families and in your work for his glory and praise.
Bishop Stephen Reichert OFM Cap