Posts Tagged ‘International’
Brother Colin ssf … Haere Ra Koro
In 1970 four Brothers from four nations and three different SSF Provinces were chosen to pioneer our Franciscan First Order presence in Aotearoa New Zealand. One of them was a large Solomon Islander – Brother Colin – from Malaita. They were first at St Francis House, Greys Avenue, Auckland and then at St Mary’s Vicarage, Glen Innes.
Colin was one of the first Solomon Islanders to come to test his vocation as a friar at what is now known as Haruro (formerly Jegerata) near Popondetta in Papua New Guinea. The other two were Michael Davis, who died in 1989 and Comins Romano who returned to Haruro this year from the Solomons for the celebration in July of our being 50 years in Papua New Guina. Both were from the island of Ulawa. These three Solomon Island Brothers had come to join SSF before there was a friary in the Solomons. Colin had previously resided and worked at Pawa boys’ secondary school on Ugi Island. Now we have to record that he has died in the general hospital in Honiara after a long illness, aged 73. He was professed in 1969.
Colin had become the “patriarch” of our Brothers in the Solomons, being wise and faithful, though a little too fond of bettlenut. Many people sought his advice and encouragement. Having an infectious sense of humour he could tell many good stories and was a gentle mimic. He played the guitar and had a good bass voice. He was a reader but often admitting that “this book is too big for my head”. His sermons were powerfully delivered. He hated nonsense and pretence. And having a keen understanding of justice he founded and managed a school for girls at Fouala-a whom he felt were deprived of educational opportunities compared with boys. This was his main work in the second half of his Franciscan life. He was ordained priest at a late age at the hands of the then Bishop of Malaita.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
50th Anniversary Celebration in Papua New Guinea
The 50th Anniversary of the arrival of the First Order Franciscan Brothers in Papua New Guinea was celebrated at the Haruro Friary, near Popondetta. Franciscan Brothers and Sisters came from many parts of the world. It was a great day of Papuan-New Guinea celebration: well planned and organised by our PNG Brothers.
A large number of Orokaiva dancers in traditional dress with their drums: singing and dancing led the procession for the Eucharist. Throughout the service there were points at which there was dancing by representative groups of Franciscan Brothers, Sisters of the Visitation, Melanesian Brothers, theological college students and the local Sunday school — all done so reverently.
The President of the Eucharist was the Bishop of Popondetta, Joseph Kopapa. I was privileged to be the preacher. We tried not only to recall the past with thanksgiving, but to be aware of the challenges of the present, and the need to take risks in faith and hope for the future, seeing religious orders as beacons of light.
At the end of the service the dancers led us all to a shrine in the garden where deceased brothers are recalled, especially two Papuans, Philip and Timothy Joseph and American Brother Justus, who was the Principal of Newton College. A plaque was unveiled and blessed by Brother Clark Berge. The Minister General of the Third Order, Rev Dorothy Brooker was present as this also marked the beginning of the Third Order.
Feasting and dancing with drama followed. Nearly a thousand people were present. Much food; pigs, poultry and vegetables, had been cooked through the night. Speeches were given by people of the wider community. Oliver Ambo, the deputy Governor and son of late Bishop George Ambo, spoke of behalf of the Government and Bishop Joseph Kopapa on behalf of the church.
Gifts were exchanged and Brother Lawrence Hauje spoke for the province. The proceedings concluded with evening prayer led by Bishop Tevita Talanoa. It had been an exhilarating and exhausting day and one long to be remembered.
This event was commemorating not only what is happening in PNG but also throughout the South Pacific. From PNG the First and Third Orders of SSF have spread to the Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand and beyond to Asia. One of the reasons Bishop Philip Strong invited the Society to come was his firm belief that there would be vocations to the Franciscan way of the Religious Life among Melanesians. This visit showed me that there was not only an increase in the number of Brothers but also in maturity. There are now thirty brothers in PNG, all of whom are local people and a larger number in the Solomon Islands. We can give thanks to God.
Br Brian SSF.