Sr April sm is the coordinator/instructor in the Therapeutic Computer Learning Center (TCLC) of Davao Jail in the Philippines. The center had its graduation celebration on March 30, 2014. Sr. April sm, together with other members of the Jail’s Chaplaincy team, Sr. Sheila sm and Fr. Chris sm (ACPW Chaplain), gave out the Certificates of Completion to 35 student-inmates; 14 of whom finished the Basic PC Operations and the other 19 finished Basic Computer Hardware Servicing. Congratulations to students and teachers.
Category: Papua New Guinea
Gathering of Young Marist Sisters
Young Marist Sisters from Benin, Senegal, Gambia, Brazil, Mexico, Fiji, Philippines and Papua New Guinea have gathered in Sydney for a period of spiritual renewal.
During the week prior to their renewal the sisters have had an opportunity to see some Sydney landmarks, tour places of Marist significance in Sydney and visit two Marist Secondary schools where they interacted with students including those from their own cultures. Despite differences of culture and language the sisters are experiencing the unity of their common desire to live the Marist spirit in our world today.
Two New Marist Sisters
On Saturday 19th November, Srs. Celina Gavia and Catherine Sariman, both from PNG, made their First Profession as Marist Sisters. Having completed their novitiate formation, they pronounced their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in the Novitiate Chapel in Mintal, Davao City, The Philippines. Fr. Larry Sabud SM presided at the Eucharistic celebration.
Sr Veronica Lum, representing the Superior General of the Congregation, received their vows. Many members of the wider Marist Family (Fathers, Brothers, Missionary Sisters and Laity) were present, as well as all the Marist Sisters in the Sector of the Philippines.
They were also very happy with the presence of some of their neighbours and some people with whom Cathy and Celina had been involved in their weekly ministry outreach. After Mass all stayed to share in a lovely meal.
Papua New Guinea Events
Srs Lavinia and Kathleen recently left Papua New Guinea bringing an end to the Marist Sisters’ ministry in the parish of Wama in the Bereina Diocese. The sisters were filled with gratitude for the many varied experiences they had and for the friendships they formed over the last two and a half years and so there was sadness in their hearts as they said their goodbyes.
In the weeks prior to their departure they were able to be present at a day of celebration in Wama with the Opening and Blessing of the new Toilet/Shower Block. Preparation for this special event had been taking place for many weeks and there was great excitement when the day arrived. The amenities block was generously funded by Cerdon College, Sydney, with an additional amount given to complete the project through a donation made by the Sector of New Zealand. It is a colourful building surrounded by beautiful gardens and with traditional paintings on the outside walls. It was decorated with leaves and flowers, and was blessed by the Vicar General of the Diocese. Speeches, dances and a feast ensured an all-day celebration to be remembered!
Farewell in Papua New Guinea
After two years in Papua New Guinea Sr Kate McPhee has returned to her home Sector of Australia. A number of farewells were held in her honour. It was an emotional time when expressions of sadness were mixed with those of loving appreciation. During one farewell at a school assembly presentations were made to Kate and gratitude expressed for the great support that the students had received through her from Cerdon College, Merrylands, and Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich. The most recent project, funded by Cerdon, was the installation of four ‘flush’ School toilets.
Before leaving Papua New Guinea on 25th March, Kate was very happy to be able to hand over the co-ordination of the FODE (Flexible and Open Distance Education) work to Mr. Patrick Sariman, father of Florence. There is hope that the FODE Office in Port Moresby will soon recognize Wama as an official correspondence centre and will be able to put some funds into supporting the continuing education of young people in this rural area.
Silver Jubilee of Profession
The 25th Anniversary of Sr Kate’s Profession as a Marist Sister occurred on 7th December. Sr Kate ministers in Papua New Guinea but she is currently home in Australia for a holiday with her family. On the day of her Profession Anniversary she celebrated with her Marist Sisters in Sydney. The celebrant for the Mass was Sr Kate’s brother Fr Chris McPhee, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart priest. In welcoming everyone to the celebration Sr Gail acknowledged Kate’s fidelity to her vocation and her commitment to God. During Mass Kate renewed her vows. Kate acknowledged her Marist Sisters, her family and her friends who have supported her during the last twenty five years. The Mass was followed by a simple but joyfilled afternoon tea. All present congratulated Kate and wished her many blessings for the next twenty five years and beyond.
Opening of Parish Church in Kanosia, PNG
2010 began with the completion of the Parish Church in Kanosia, PNG. As donations became available and as the community spirit came alive, the St. Vincent de Paul Church was finally tiled, a new Altar, Tabernacle and Baptismal font were all made with local timber and the Church was ready, after 10 years, for its Blessing and Dedication. April 11th was a great day for the whole community in Kanosia and of course it was a privilege for the Marist Sisters to be part of such an historic occasion. Parishioners started arriving the day before from as far as 30km away. Pigs were brought in and cooking, dancing and music were very much part of the celebration. The ceremony itself began with an introduction outside, explaining the ritual itself, followed by a traditional procession to the Church. One of the highlights of the day was the televising of the event on Kundu Television shown throughout PNG that evening and the following Sunday.
Australian Schools support Papua New Guinea
We have had a delivery of boxes and boxes of books from both Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich and Cerdon College Merrylands for our schools. It has been a delight to see the faces of the children and teachers as they open the boxes and see so many beautiful books, from picture books and novels to a great selection of Reference books and Encyclopedias. This is a wonderful donation that is greatly appreciated.
The teacher Librarian and myself have been going through the books to organise them into categories for distribution within the schools here in the parish. These books will not only serve the schools but will also be a great help to the young people who are beginning to finish their schooling through Distant Education. We are in the process of setting up a Distant Education Correspondence Centre to enable young people, and the not so young, to finish their schooling. We are still at the initial stages but there has been a good response to our second pre-entry test.
Papua New Guinea Mission One Year On
The Marist Sisters arrived gradually through the months of February and March 2009. By the end of March we were a community of three, Sr Lavina Henry from Fiji, Sr Kathleen Bright from New Zealand and Sr Kate McPhee from Australia. For each of us our first introduction to life here in PNG was through our Marist Confreres either in Bomana or in our own Parish of Kanosia.
The months have been rich with life and activities and there has been a lot to take in. Our encounter with the Kanosia Parish and its diversity from the Wama station with its many cultures to each of the Villages within the Parish continues to be an enriching experience.
We have been introduced to many festive occasions where Traditional dancing has been a significant part. From the blessing of our house, to Diocesan festivals, back to the opening of 3 School houses, to our own Marist Feast on the 12th September, the Parish feast of St Vincent de Paul and then Advent and Christmas celebrations it has all been a wealth of culture and diversity.
We are getting use to the fact that this is truly the ‘Land of the Unexpected’ with each day bringing its differences and sometimes many challenges. One learns a lot about ‘Waiting’ especially when it comes to Banks and business-like dealings as well as meetings within the Village.
But even this is overtaken by the natural beauty of this country and of its people. God is certainly alive and active in this place, enriching both it and us with life and love.
Currently there are two young women from Papua New Guinea in the Marist Sisters’ Novitiate in Davao, the Philippines. During their novitiate period Catherine and Celina are undertaking studies in spiritual, theological and Marist formation while reflecting more deeply on their call to be Marist Sisters.
Missioning in Australia
On 6th February Marist Sisters of the Sydney communities gathered at Marian House. After a beautiful prayer Gail farewelled and missioned Grace, who soon will take up her ministry as Novitiate Formator in the Marist Sisters’ Novitiate in the Philippines.
Then Vivienne, who has recently been appointed Sector Assistant, was also missioned.
Kate was present before returning to our new mission in Papua New Guinea. Therefore it was an appropriate occasion to acknowledge her Silver Jubilee and present her with the customary Papal Blessing. A delicious afternoon tea was provided and this gave all present the opportunity to farewell Grace and Kate and congratulate Vivienne in a joyful Marist celebration.