Sevim Pipol bilong God
- Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb
“I offer my sufferings for the people of Bougainville, the referendum and for all of you,” said John Cardinal Ribat recalling the words said by the late Bp Bernard at the Requiem Mass at St Joseph’s church on 16th August 2019.
Most Rev. Bernard Unabali DD passed away on Saturday 10th August 2019 in Manila. The Requiem Mass was celebrated by Sir John Cardinal Ribat. Concelebrants Archbishop Douglas Young, Archbishop of Mt Hagen; Bp Arnold Orowae, Bishop of Wabag; Bp Dariusz Kaluza, Bishop of Goroka; Bp Rozario Menezes, Bishop of Lae and about 40 priests joined in the Eucharistic celebration. The church was filled with religious and lay people who gathered to thank the Lord for the sacrifice, dedication, and commitment of Bp Bernard.
“Reconciliation in homes, families, communities, churches and the government was at the heart of his Pastoral Plan. His efforts were focused in a major way on the sister churches to enable Bougainville prepare for the referendum”, said Cardinal Ribat as he dwelt on the efforts of Bp Bernard to lead his people in Bougainville.
At the Eulogy, Vestina Monala, niece of Bp Bernard highlighted the qualities of her uncle. She mentioned that he visited remote villages accessible only by foot. “He was amongst the people at the height of the crisis. He set up youth rehabilitation programs and activities to keep the youth away from unlawful activities”, she said. “Reconciliation and bringing the churches together for peace was done on Good Friday in 2019”, she added.
Archbishop Douglas spoke of him as a visionary and a hard worker. “He lived his Christian life of suffering with simplicity, genuine faith and the gentleness of the Spirit. He believed in self-reliance and a sustainable future rather than a hand out mentality”, he said.
Tributes were received from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Thomas Taberia spoke of him as a ‘Bishop who was there for his people as a peace-maker’.
The mortal remains will be flown to Bougainville on the 17th August. People will have the opportunity to pay their last respects to him at the different parishes.
Born on 5thMay 1957 at Bolioko, Sovele Parish, Nagovis, AROB.
Ordained priest: 14th December 1985
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bougainville: 1stJune 2006
Appointed ted Bishop of Bougainville: 15thDecember 2009
Entered Eternal Life: Saturday 10thAugust 2019