Laudato Si' Youth Camp, Boroko, Papua New Guinea

Boroko, Port Moresby, PNG, 12 May 2023 -- The Laudato Si' Youth Camp was held from 21 to 22 April at the gymnasium of Don Bosco Technological Institute, Boroko campus. The program was organized and coordinated by the Mary Help of Christians Vocational Education Training FODE Centre (MHCVETFC). The 184 participants were youth representatives from different institutions and parishes in Port Moresby.

       The campers consisted of students from four different schools: MHCVETFC, Kilakila Secondary, Butuka Academy and Bavaroko Primary together with youth from St Joseph Parish, Holy Rosary Parish, Holy Name of Jesus Parish and Mary Help of Christians Sabama Parish. The sessions of the camp focused on the theme “Be the Salt and Light to CARE for our Mother Earth”. Fr. Angel Sanchez, SDB presented a session on interconnectedness of all creatures and the duty of care that all human beings have for the earth.

       “Fr. Angel’s talk interested me the most,” commented Leila Baoroba, an NC2 trainee who participated in the camp. “As we are interconnected, the treatment we give to these creatures will affect us, as well. For example, if we cut down trees without planting new ones, we will have shortage of oxygen in the future. Likewise, if we mistreat or abuse animals we’ll likely mistreat or abuse fellow human beings in the future. Therefore, it is important to respect and take good care of these creatures as well as our homes.”

       Fr. Edward Magbago, OCarm who celebrated the morning mass on 22 April spoke about the natural resources of the country and how it was spared of destructive natural disasters. He inspired the participants to return home and put Laudato Si' into action. He challenged all campers to make sure that the country, their common home is kept safe from all man made abuses and preserved for the next generations. The mass had been animated by the students and staff of MHCVETFC.

       After the mass, the campers put into action all the things that they have learned through an immersion experience at Bavaroko Primary School. They worked on various tasks: segregating rubbish, digging a rubbish pit, weeding around the flower beds, raking rubbish from the school area and planting various plants around the school. A representative from the school commented that the actions of the campers made them feel like “someone cares for them and the school as a whole and it’s nice to see young people caring for the environment.”

       The Laudato Si' Youth Camp aimed to awaken the young person’s concern to look after Mother Earth because one way or the other, we are indeed as Pope Francis rightly wrote, ‘interconnected’.