FR AMBROSE PEREIRA
| Asia News
PORT MORESBY– Young migrants, refugees and people detained in Papua New Guinea struggle to overcome the barriers of language and culture as they seek to get back to their homeland or a third country.
They experience not just separation from their places of origin but also cultural and religious uprooting.
This is where the Church can serve as a reference point for these people. “The Church has an important role and can bring new life to them” (Christus vivit, Chap 3, par 93).
Sister Teresa Vu Phuong Thuy Trinh, a member of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, was assigned by the church to work in Sidea, near Alotau.
Until 2018, she looked after needs of Vietnamese detainees and served as an interpreter and mediator for them at court hearings.
Thanks to the courage of this small nun and the support given by her Salesian community, in June 2018 105 Vietnamese fishermen were repatriated and able to rejoin their families back home.
Recently, another five male Vietnamese detainees were also repatriated after being incarcerated in the Bomana Correctional Institution in Port Moresby for three years.
They are now happily reunited with their families in Vietnam after being deported on 3 September.
With invaluable support from her congregation, Sr Teresa assisted in negotiating with the Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia to obtain passports, airline tickets and overnight accommodation in the Philippines for the men before they headed home.
The acting commanding officer of Bomana Correctional Centre, Yelly Oiufa, expressed his thanks to Mother-General Yvonne Reungoat FMA and the congregation of the Salesian Sisters.
"I am greatly indebted to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians for their act of charity in helping the needy ones," Superintendent Oiufa wrote, adding that Sr Teresa had helped in the past and that she continues to do so even though she is now studying in Italy.
Fr Pereira is secretary of the Catholic Commission for Communications and Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands