Third Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Lae Ordained
- Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb
Lae, Papua New Guinea:
The Catholic Diocese of Lae was blessed with its third bishop on 15th December, 2018.
Bp Rozario Menezes SMM, was ordained Bishop of Lae at the solemn Eucharistic celebration held at the St Mary’s Primary School compound, Eriku, Lae. The solemn Eucharistic celebration commenced at St. Michael’s parish. Traditional dancers from the parish of St. Finbar Parish, Mandok/Siassi Islands led the 21 bishops in their resplendent gold vestments, 55 priests, family members of Bp Rozario who traveled from India to be part of the celebration and invited guests were led to the altar specially erected for the event.
Nearly, 2000 members of the congregation from the different parishes of the Diocese of Lae gathered on the school grounds for the event. Guests from India, Indonesia, Italy, United States, Philippines, Madagascar, Haiti, South Africa, Kiunga, Port Moresby and other places were present for the event.
His Eminence John Cardinal Ribat, MSC, DD, Archbishop of Port Moresby; His Grace Stephen Reichert, DD, Archbishop of Madang, His Excellency Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, DD, Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands and His Lordship Christian Blouin, CMM, DD, GCL, Bishop of Lae were Co-consecrators at the celebration. All joined in prayer for the new bishop.
In his homily, the Apostolic Nuncio reminded the new bishop of his call to be merciful and reach out in service. “Be an agent of mercy. Listen to the voice of the Lord and spend time with him every night, offering your pains and sufferings and every one of your priests, faithful, catechists and religious,” he instructed the new bishop.
“Your call to be the shepherd of this diocese is a call to love the poor, the marginalized, those abandoned and all strangers,” said the Archbishop. He reminded the new bishop of his responsibilities: to teach, to sanctify, and to govern the People of God. “Be a pastor with the ‘smell of the sheep’, who is in the midst of your people, ready to walk with the flock and stay with the flock in good times and bad”, he said.
The Examination of the candidate, invocation of the Holy Spirit and the anointing then followed. Cardinal Ribat anointed Bp Rozario with oil. He was then presented with the ring, the mitre and the crosier, signifying his total commitment to God and his responsibility to care for the sheep. A thunderous applause rent the air as John Cardinal Ribat placed the mitre on the head of Bishop Rozario.
Prayers were said for the new bishop and the needs of the church and the people of the Diocese. Under the meticulous direction of Fr Arnold Schmitt CMM, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Cathedral and a dedicated team of volunteers the celebration was well prepared.
A unique moment at the end of the celebration was the handing over of the flame to the new bishop. Bp Christian joyfully handed over the light to Bp Rozario signifying the handing over of the light of Christ.
The St Michael’s combined choir, Eriku consisting of over 100 singers and musicians sang under the baton of Mary Josopath. Members from St. Stephen’s parish, 3 Mile; St. Paul’s parish, Igam; Holy Spirit Parish, Boundary Road; St. Teresa’s parish, Kamkumung; St. Mary’s Parish, Top Town and St. Martins, Papuan Compound.
A delicious lunch with a variety of dishes was served for all the guests, while the different parishes catered to their parishioners. A variety entertainment followed that consisted of dances and presentations.
Gari Baki and his wife were congratulated for the 38 years of married life.
Hon. Ginson Saonu, Governor of Morobe, thanked the Catholic Church for the work it does for the people of Morobe. In return, he has pledged K100,000.00 to the Catholic Church.
The superior general of the Missionaries of Mariannhill, Rev. Fr. Thalami Victor Mbuyisa CMM presented the new bishop with a crosier made out of Olive tree, pledging his commitment to remain and work together with the new bishop in the Diocese of Lae. “We are happy to continue this partnership with the Bp Rozario and we are committed to stay to continue the mission in Lae. We thank God for Bp Christian Blouin CMM, for shepherding the flock for the past eleven years”, he said.