My Fellow Papua New Guineans.
As a Christian nation, Easter has special significance for Papua New Guinea. Throughout Christian communities in cities, towns and villages around our Nation, we celebrate our Faith. This Easter we will again be reminded of the enormous sacrifice that Our Lord, and Saviour, made of the cross on the first Good Friday. On Easter Sunday the sadness of his suffering will be replaced by the glory of his resurrection. The good will overcome evil, which will strengthen the foundations for our Christian church, that serves our nation so well today.
In extending greetings to all our Christian communities, and families, I want to acknowledge with gratitude the wonderful contribution the Church, and the Christian community, make to so many aspects of our national life. Without the services church organisations provide right across Papua New Guinea, the living standards in many communities and families would suffer. I thank the Church school teachers, Church health workers, for the dedicated services you provide to our families right across the nation. On behalf of our Government, I thank the leaders of all our Christian Churches for their commitment and great compassion.
I again wish to warmly congratulate our Catholic Archbishop, His Eminence Cardinal John Ribat, on becoming Papua New Guinea’s first Cardinal. His historic elevation by Pope Francis is not just a tribute to Cardinal Ribat’s leadership, it reflects the Holy Father’s acknowledgement of the importance of Christianity in Papua New Guinea. Across all denominations, our Christian Churches help to meet our real needs in our remote and regional areas. Our Churches support family life, work to end violence against women, and to address the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS.
I also applaud the work of our churches in the growing area of trade and vocational training. This vital work contributes to the skilling of our young people and employment growth in our economy. Education is vital for healthier, safer and economically secure communities. Our Government is committed to advancing education in our country. Our free school education program might place a burden on Government expenses, but this is the best investment that we can make in our Nation’s future. By education an entire generation, and placing more than one million additional students in school, most of them girls, we are laying the foundations for a stronger and more advanced Nation.
We will continue with our commitment to strengthen educated, along with our universal healthcare and law and order programs. We will continue to work with our Churches in each of these areas and strengthen our communities. Our Government will continue to advance the direct funding of our churches. This funding assists church-run health and welfare services to be maintained and expanded, and it is a program we are committed to continue.
It is also appropriate to thank church-based centres and organisations such as the Divide Word and Adventist Universities. As well as the YWAM Medical Ships Program, that is helping to meet the healthcare and training needs of communities around Papua New Guinea. We are truly blessed with the wide-ranging, compassionate, and growing work of our churches, and church organisations. This is work that is being undertaken in communities across Papua New Guinea today.
Our Nation is changing, it is growing and developing, and we must continue to advance Papua New Guinea. As we celebrate the great Christian Festival of Easter, I know you join with me in giving thanks for this work in all its forms, and we pray that it will continue to grow. My wife Lynda, and our family, wish you, your families and your friends, a Happy and Safe Easter. May the true message of good over evil remain with us this Easter, and throughout the year ahead. May God Bless Papua New Guinea.