Episcopal Consecration of new bishop of Auki

- Sr. Sesilia Sala FMA

 

Auki, Solomon Islands: The Episcopal Consecration of the first Solomon Islands Catholic Bishop, His Lordship Peter Houhou was held on Saturday 14th October 2018 at the St. Augustine Catholic Cathedral, Auki, Malaita Province.

  

His Excellency Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, Apostolic Nuncio for Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, was assisted by Archbishop Christopher M. Cardone OP, Archdiocese of Honiara and Archbishop Douglas Young SVD, Archdiocese of Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea. Concelebrants were Emeritus Archbishop Adrian T. Smith SM, diocesan and religious priests. Fr. Giorgio Licini PIME, Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) General Secretary and Sr. Marilyn MSC were among the special invited guests.

Addressing the congregation at the homily, Archbishop Kurian reminded the new bishop that his first task is to love God, love his priests and the people of God.  He said, “Holy mother Church is entrusting you with three important responsibilities: To teach, to sanctify and to govern the People of God”. He thanked the family for the precious gift of their son and invited all to pray and support their bishop.

The presence of the Prime Minister, Honorable Rick Houenipwela and his delegation, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Honorable John Maneniaru and his wife, the Premier of Malaita Province, Honorable Peter C Ramohia and his wife represented the government along with distinguished guests from other provinces as well as overseas.

The ceremony commenced with emotional cultural rituals. The whole family of Bishop Elect Fr. Peter from Marau, East Areare and Ulawa presented him to the church in the presence of His Excellency, Archbishop Kurian M. Vayalunkal, the Apostolic Nuncio. 

The Solemn Eucharistic celebration was unique and represented the different deaneries and parishes of the Diocese of Auki. The entire ceremony was explained by the Master of Ceremony, Fr. John Adai.

In expression of their gratitude and appreciation speeches were delivered by the Prime Minister, Honorable Rick Houenipwela, The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Kurian M Vayalunkal, Honorable Peter Ramohia and the newly consecrated Bishop, His Lordship Peter Houhou. Congratulations were offered and gifts were presented. 

Bishop Peter paid tribute to his predecessors, Late Bp Gerard Loft, SM and Bp Christopher Cardone, OP.  He highlighted the work of the Marist missionaries and Diocesan priests who have built the Church and the Catholic faith of the people. In particular he mentioned the first two local priests, Fr. Michael Aike and Fr Donasiano Hite’e. He invited all in the diocese and the church to work together to strengthen the Catholic faith in Solomon Islands. He also called on the Provincial and National Government to work together to address the many issues and challenges that the community and society face.

A special acknowledgement was expressed to Fr. James Angisia for his role as administrator of the diocese for the past two years. The program concluded with feasting accompanied by a variety of items by different groups.

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