Great and Meaningful celebrations at Nila in the Shortlands
The shortland people celebrated their parish Feast day with the solemn blessing of the new church completed after 33 years of hard work... It may seem indeed a long time to many, but the difficulties in this remote area certainly are not few and not minor at all.
They also celebrated their 110 anniversary of the bringing of Christianity to their area by the Marist Missionaries from Bouganville. The catholic community has several flourishing churches in the Alu, Fauro and Mono areas. They honored their church with their presence, praying, and celebrating spirit.
The Saint John Kindy, primary school and St Anne RTC at Nila and the Tuha Junior secondary School (across the Nila station area) welcomed and entertained the guests.
Meetings with the chiefs and the station leaders clarified issues and inspired the leaders to take commitments together to renew and involve the church communities in the areas of health and education. Plans are being made to develop the Saint John (Bosco) school into a full Primary, junior and senior secondary school and training centers for the shortland youths. The campuses are envisioned to be in the island of Nila for primary and senior secondary while in Tuha land for the Junior Secondary. The community will unite under the church authority to build and run the school as one. A statue of the blessed mother Help of Christians has been blessed and located at a prominent place of the Island just between the new wharf and the new church. The statue of Saint John Bosco too has been set in place to inspire the youth with the presence of the saint to whom the school has been named by the early Marist missionaries long before Don Bosco came to Henderson in 2000.
The community effort will be carried on in communion with the parish leader Fr Vincent Conception and by the newly chosen paramount chief from Pirumeri, Sir George Leppin former Governor General.
The newly arrived mission boat the "Saint Peter" made its second visit to Nila bringing in all the priests and some sisters accompanying their Bishop who did the honors of the blessings.
The dreams are many and the good will is much, the enthusiasm too. The leadership is firm, strong and looking ahead with courage and faith. There is no reason why the plans and dreams cannot soon become a reality soon.
The occasion also saw the launching of the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Gizo with the first bishop appointed in 1960 in the person of Bishop Eusebius Crawford, OP. A good number of pastoral and spiritual activities are in line for the Golden Jubilee celebration which will culminate with the feast of St Peter on June 28th 2010 with the solemn inauguration and blessing of the Gizo cathedral.