Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gold in Mendi

It's been a while since I posted and I have much to share with you, but I couldn't let this go without getting it out to you right away.  December 7 - 8 marked the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession of five religious men and women who have consecrated their lives to God and to the service of God's People.  The Jubilarians are Sister Lukas Suess, FSDP; Brother Ray Ronan, OFM Cap.; Sister Gaudentia Meier, FSDP (pictured below), also celebrating are Bishop Bill Fey, OFM Cap., and Father Allan Wasiecko, OFM Cap.


The celebration began with a traditional SingSing.  People dressed in traditional attire marched the Jubilarians from the cathedral (background) to the grandstand where a program of traditional and contemporary song and dance took place.  The people, young and old were happy to express their appreciation to these dedicated  missionaries for their 50 years of consecrated religious life - most of those years spent in the Diocese of Mendi.  Sister Lukas is currently the Director of the Diocesan Pastoral Center.  Brother Ray has served in many ministries, including Vocation Director for the Capuchins and for the Diocese.  Sister Gaudentia is considered the 'mother' of Catholic Health Services in the diocese - a vast network of clinics and health centers serving the medical needs of people in the remotest areas.  Father Allan is currently the pastor of Saint Felix of Cantalice Parish in Pangia.  Bishop Bill served for 20 years as formation director of the Capuchins and lecturer in philosophy at the Catholic Theological Institute in Port Moresby.  He now serves as the Bishop of Kimbe in the West New Britain Province of PNG.


Old and new joined together in the praise and thanks to God for the life and example of these dedicated religious.  Even the perennial Mendi rain didn't dampen the spirits of those who came to take part in the celebration.  As you can see above... who needs an umbrella when you have a banana leaf to share with a friend!


The culmination of the celebration came the next day at the celebration of Sunday Mass in the Cathedral of Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd.  Bishop Bill (far right) arrived in time for the celebration and added to the joy of the day...

Consecrated Religious life is a gift and blessing to the Universal Church, but it has been a true blessing to the local Church of Mendi... Many religious men and women have served and continue to serve in this diocese and it is not an exaggeration to say that the diocese would not be the same if it wasn't for the self-giving love and service of these dedicated men and women from across the globe and from PNG itself.

Happy 50th Jubilee!  You're all Golden!

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