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  • Nigel Akuani

Gutpela Wasman Bilong ol Sipsip

Kiunga Rejoices at the 3rd Bishop

Kiunga, Western Province: Thousands rejoiced and celebrated their faith of 62 years, as they witnessed the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-Elect, Joseph Durero SVD, the third Bishop of the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga.

Held on Sunday 29th August 2021, at the St Gerard Cathedral, the Eucharistic Celebration had as its theme: ‘With You I am a Christian, For You I am a Bishop. Yes Lord I Love You’.

His Eminence, Sir John Cardinal Ribat MSC, Archbishop of Port Moresby waw the main celebrant at the Episcopal Ordination. His Grace Mons. Archbishop Fermin Emilio Sosa Rodriguez, Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands and His Excellency Most Rev. Gilles Côté SMM were the co-consecrators. They were joined by nine other Bishops from different dioceses across PNG, Priests, clergy, Religious, laymen and women, youths and children, parishioners and Catholics from the entire diocese.

In his homily, Bp Gilles Côté noted that the position of the ‘Bishop’ was one intended to be that of service and not of power. He exhorted the new Bishop to become a Servant-Leader prepared to journey with his people. “Jesus Christ chose and sent his apostles to preach the gospel and sanctify all people, a Bishop’s duty is to take care of his flock by preaching the Gospel and helping his people live the gospel,” he stated. “Be very close to Jesus so that our people will see Jesus alive in you. Uphold the values of humility, integrity and authenticity and draw inspiration and strength from the Lord himself,” he continued.

The Apostolic Nuncio Mons Rodriguez described the occasion as ‘God’s goodness’. He encouraged the new Bishop to ‘smell like his sheep’, have a ‘compassionate’ heart for his people and be a ‘Servant of Hope’. “Guided by faith, trust and hope may God guide you to journey with your people and be a true and faithful pastor,” he said.

“Dilawa ita hanamoa!” (Let’s praise and thank God) exclaimed Bp Joseph as he thanked God for the 62 years of faith and worship of the people. The presence of God and Mary is visible in a people journeying and united together. ‘Love, Honesty and Trust’ is my motto and with the help of God, I will strive to be a ‘Gutpela wasman bilong sipsip’. I trust that this mission can be achieved by upholding the motto ‘Yes, Lord I Love You’ because love changes everything and conquers all,” he said

Chairlady to Holy Spirit Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council in Madang, Mrs Magaret Anut, recalled Bp Joseph’s prior years in Madang as Parish Priest of the Holy Spirit Cathedral, and admitted that it is sad to see that he left Madang, but proud of his elevation. “In his years as a priest in Madang, we grew close to him as the leader of our parish working together to ensure spiritual formation programs and church activities were in order. He will make a good new Bishop,” she stated.

Representing Bp Durero’s mother, Simplesia Durero, who just turned 91 years, his sisters, Lenie and Nenita; and brothers, Josefino and Narciso, was Jane Soriano. She congratulated him and prayed for divine guidance on his new role of service.

Bosco Salulen, a parishioner of St Brigid’s Parish, Kiunga, said that though he was elated to have a new Bishop, he also expressed his sadness at the retirement of Bishop, Gilles Côtè. “I am thankful to God for giving us a third Bishop to help and guide us on the path of our Catholic faith. Even though Bp Gilles will be leaving us, he will always have a place in the hearts of many of us throughout the Western Province,” he added.

Bp Joseph Durero SVD, is the Third Bishop of Daru-Kiunga Diocese. He was born on 13th April 1968, ordained a Priest on 12th December 1995, and appointed Bishop on Pentecost Sunday 23rd May 2021.

Dressed in traditional bilas, the Awin-Aekyom, Yougom, Boazi, Kiwai (Bamu, Gogodala), Min, Madang people, the teachers and students accompanied the Eucharistic processions giving it a unique and a distinctive indigenous flavour.

Following mass, cultural celebrations ensued on the sports field of St Gerard. The lively traditional dance performances, witnessed by a huge crowd, were from the different parishes of the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga. It was an expression of welcome and gratitude.

Due to recent detection of cases of Delta-Variant COVID-19, safety measures were adhered to right throughout the ceremony.

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