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Week around Choiseul

Diocese of Gizo in the Solomon Islands
A WEEK AROUND CHOISEUL PARISHES, 2005



After flying into Taro, Bishop Bernard O'Grady arrived at Moli late afternoon. The Youth were practising for the Bishop's Cup next month. Next day he met with the building committee for the extensions to the new Church and with the Parish Priest, Father Michael Lomiri.

Sunday Mass was chock-a-block as the Catechists were being newly instituted together with various other ministries, about twenty in all. In the homily, Bishop Bernard spoke about the life of the new Pope Benedict using his request to Catholics to be co-workers in the Truth.


The people showed a great interest in the life of the new Pope without the concerns that are worrying many Catholic groups in other countries. All readings at the Sunday masses and at Masses during the week used the newly published Warisi New Testament, read with understanding and heart. This was very moving.

That afternoon Bishop Bernard left by canoe for Sirovagna just over an hour away. The canoe was hit by a strong wind squall as it came came into the harbour and the driver had to zigzag through the waves to avoid being soaked. We were lucky to be landing at the old stone wharf at high tide. Otherwise the stones are muddy and slippery and Bishop has almost to be carried along. There is a fine view of the new Priests' House and Church perched on the top of the ridge that overlooks the mangroves and mud. From the hill the view that stretches to the horizon to the north is truly quite spectacular. The new buildings are expected to be ready for the Centenary celebrations there in September. Both have been built over the original structures but are considerably larger.

The next morning the Bishop left for the end of the parish village, called Tabarato. It is about a three hour trip and the sea was huge. They speak a different language there so communicating with people is by pidgin. The only permanent building is a priest/pastoral workers house built on sand and over water at high tide. This makes it cool at night.

That afternoon the Bishop left for Voru Voru a village half way between Siro and Tabarato. Since the 1970s there has been a permanent church and priest's house with a good water supply. They also have permanent school buildings. It has long been intended that a new parish be established here as soon as or whenever we have enough priests. Father Peter Kobakena OP is from this area.

The next morning Bishop Bernard celebrated a full-house Mass with about 40 pastoral workers being blessed. A good number of women now make up the overall numbers of church workers. They wear a kind of half-alb of different colours to differentiate Special Ministers, Readers and so on. The ladies of the parish performed their unique dance which is rarely seen these days. The movement is mainly the arms moving gracefully like a frigate drifting on the wind After Mass and kai-kai the Bishop met with people from the small communities that make up the main centre, two of them in the mountains behind. Without exception what all wanted were resources for Kindys. They are generally a poor people relying on their gardens and fish. As copra is making a reappearance some have a little cash.One community requested a teleradio. By departure time that afternoon the wind had dropped and the sea was welcomingly calm. A little over an hour and back to Sirovagna.

Mass in Sirovagna had to use the shell of the Sisters' old convent as the new church is still full of scaffolding. Quite a squeeze with so many hot bodies! Another feast after Mass then a meeting with Centenary committee whose preparations are well advanced. the next morning, Bishop Bernard left early for Taro, for his return to Gizo.

Memorial for first Samoan Catechist. With Chief Clement VoruVoru

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New Priest's House at Sirovagna

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Sr Leonie and friends at Moli

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Last change: Apr. 20, 2006 at 23:17

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