Kundiawa: The hundredth year’s celebration of the Legion of Mary in the Diocese of Kundiawa was held in Mingende parish.
From the diocesan pastoral planning and evaluations, one of its plans was on how the hundredth year’s celebration of the Legion of Mary would be held. Accordingly, through the course of the year, every parish with their parish priests and the legion members had several meetings, discussing the activities and contributions for the celebration.
From 5th – 8th September 2021, Legion members from the eighteen parishes in the diocese gathered together in Mingende parish for the celebration. The contributions were brought in on Sunday 5th September.
On Monday 6th of September the legion members from various parishes came to Mingende with their parish priests, however, some parishes do not have priests so they took their own initiatives to come for the celebration or with the help of other priests.
There were about 2586 legion members from various parishes of Kundiawa diocese not counting the Catholics who were not legion members but were also present at the celebration. As the members from the various parishes arrived at Mingende, the hosting parish welcomed them to celebrate together.
At 3:00pm the opening Mass was celebrated by Fr. Ryzard Wajda, SVD, the concelebrants were Fr. Cosmos Kombla, SVD-parish priest of Mingende, Fr. Paul Bina, SVD – parish priest of Denglagu, and Fr. Otto Kupo parish priest of Mai with the pastoral seminarians, two communion ministers and ministrants serving the altar.
The Mass was very well celebrated and before the final blessing the Magnificat was recited in Pidgin in which everyone recited from their hearts. After the Mass they had dinner and evening activities followed. It was the biggest event ever being celebrated in the diocese.
The Morning Mass on Tuesday was filled with people and it took longer time than usual because those who were lining up for communion were in great number. At 3:00pm, foods were distributed to various parishes and to the priests and Bishop. Before the distribution of the food, there were speeches from the priests and the representatives of the legion members.
According to Fr. Peter Kim, SVD, during his speech he mentioned two spirituality of the founder, Mr Frank Duff; (1) the legion members are called to be holy and (2) are responsible to reach out to others and make others become holy, since God desired holiness from us – His creatures.
Furthermore, the founder of the Legion of Mary, Mr Frank Duff was from Dublin in Ireland. The Holy See approved his request in founding the legion of Mary on 8th September 1921. It spread throughout the Catholic world and it was the proper devotion to Mother Mary the mother of God, and of the Church with its set rules and regulations to follow as members of the Legion of Mary.
In 1987 the Legion of Mary reached the diocese of Kundiawa with its first Bishop William Kurtz, SVD. Until now the Legion of Mary existed in the diocese of Kundiawa for 34 years.
Accordingly, the current bishop Most Rev. Paul Sundu in his coat of arms had three Latin initials AC&M – meaning Mary help of the Christians in English. That which was derived from the matron of the diocese – Mary help of Christians.
The new bishop and his administration will be with the help of Mother Mary and so the representatives of the Legion of Mary taking the advantage to make comment that “we will try our very best to make the diocese become the diocese of Legion of Mary since Mother Mary is the matron of the diocese.”
Closing of the event, was on the 8th September, the nativity of Mother Mary; it was also the day that the diocese of Kundiawa separated from Goroka and was the day that the SVD congregation was founded. Therefore, the Mass was beautifully celebrated by Bishop Paul Sundu and the priests were concelebrants; the liturgy was beautifully participated.
Bishop Paul Sundu in his homily and announcement mentioned again the two spirituality of the Legion of Mary from the founder, they were to live a holy life and be a witness of the Gospel to our neighbours and those whom we encounter daily in life. Bishop further mentioned that when you are going back to the different places that you were coming from, they have to establish legion of Mary where there wasn’t any.
They have to extend to the outstations and in various institutions in the diocese. The legion members and those who were coming for the celebration travelled to their various places after lunch.