Celebrating the Gift of Faith - a hundred years!
Buka Island, Bougainville: The vibrant Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Hanahan, Buka Island celebrated 100 Years of the Gift of Faith. The three-day celebration commenced on the 14th July 2022 and had as its theme: ‘Gratitude to the Almighty Father for the 100 years of the Catholic Faith’.
The Three Days Centenary Celebration started on the 14th of July 2022 with blessing of the monument where first missionaries landed at Banis (Karula). Fr. Biljohn Arienza, MSP, Chancellor of the Diocese of Bougainville, was the main celebrant with concelebrants Fr. Victor Nanaha, Parish Priest of Hanahan and the 6 priests from the diocese. Cultural Presentations from the Parishes in the Diocese and Communities of Hanahan were then presented at Banis Primary School.
On the 15th July 2022, Fr. Brian Sigere, Marist Bougainville Sector Delegate blessed the monument for the first Catechist. This was followed Holy Mass at Hahalis where the first missionaries settled before they transfered to Hanahan. Dances and presentations from different parishes of the Diocese and communities from Hanahan then followed.
The Third Day was the highlight of the Centenary Event and also the Parish Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Polycarp Kaviak, Vicar General of the Diocese of Bougainville celebrated the Mass. In his homily, Fr. Polycarp reminded the people to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary. He also highlighted on the importance of prayer and the holiness of life. 30 Priests, Marist, MSP & Diocesan priests concelebrated at the Eucharistic celebration. Parishes from all over the Diocese presented items and took part of the centenary celebrations.
F A I T H... a hundred years!
Reflections on the Centenary Celebrations of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Hanahan, Buka Island.
Missionaries came to Hanahan in the year 1922 through the swampy area in Banis. It was not easy for the missionaries to bring the Catholic Faith. They experienced difficulties with the rough terrain and struggled with illness and malaria. They searched for years and moved from Karolla (Banis) to Hahalis. They then settled in Hanahan where the parish is now located.
The local people of Hanahan accepted the gift of faith from the missionaries. There was resistance at first but as time went by, many locals joined the Church with the help of the Catechists. The Catechists then assisted the missionaries to bring the faith.
As part of "Wok Misen" missionary work, the Catechists helped a lot in disseminating information about the Catholic Faith. The Catechism was a tool for evangelization.
The Catholic faithful of Hanahan Parish are grateful to God and to the missionaries for the gift of faith. As a sign of gratitude they built monuments, Haus Lotu (LKK's & BKK's) and celebrated the Centenary Masses in all the places where missionaries went before.
After the Feast Day Mass on the 16th of July, a significant moment was a formal closing of the 100 years and the opening of another 100 years of the Gift of Faith. We are hopeful that the faith will grow in the next 100 years.