Friday, August 10, 2018

Scripture for Service

The following is spot on for serving in another country and culture, no matter the service.

Last week Bishop William Fey suffered a stroke.  He was transported to Port Moresby and then onto Brisbane where they are preparing him for travel to the USA. Prayers are requested for his recovery as well as the Diocese of Kimbe.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Trip to Rabaul

This past weekend, Danita and I were blessed to be able to attend two special events in the Archdiocese of Rabaul:  The 50th Anniversary of the Noviate of the MSC Sisters and the Feast Day of Blessed Peter To Rot which also included a Youth Conference for the Archdiocese.

We traveled to Rabaul by first going to Ulamona:

We left Ulamona in a 60hp dinghy on Thursday morning at 5AM, in very rough waters:

Sr. Rose
Sr. Bernadette

Needless to say, the trip was miserable; however, there were some highlights.  Lunch on one of the islands followed by a stop at the island of Sr. Bernadette’s Family:
Lunch - fresh fish
Fresh water river at the area where we stopped to meet Sr. Bernadette's family
The Noviate Anniversary Celebration was held at the Noviate house, which is in the center of a Palm Plantation.  The Plantation was originally one but the Archdiocese donated it to three religious orders:  The MSC Sisters, FMI Sisters and OLSH Sisters, so although still one main plantation, it is split into three areas and provides income to the three orders.
Sr. Bernadette
Sisters at 50th Anniversary Celebration


After the celebration, Fr. Paul, who kindly acted as our guide and driver throughout the weekend, took us the War Memorial Cemetery.

Sr. Bernadette, Karen & Danita.  Hot and a bit of wind.

On Saturday, we attended the Feast Day Mass for Blessed Peter To Rot.  Archbishop Francisco Panfilo, SBD, and Bishop Rockoo (a direct descendant of Blessed Peter To Rot) officiated.  This was the final day of the Youth Conference held in the Archdiocese of Rabaul and between 4,000-5,000 youth attended. 
Relics of Blessed Peter To Rot, the first Blessed and soon to be Saint of Papua New Guinea
On Sunday, we attended Mass at the new Cathedral and then took a tour of the Archdiocese grounds, had lunch with the MSC sisters in their beautiful convent on the grounds of the Archdiocese and then visited the Hot Springs at Mitapit.

Inside the Cathedral

List of Archbishops

One of the pieces of artwork depicting the fire dance painted on the buildings of the Archdiocese

Hot Springs:

One of the greatest blessings of the weekend was being invited to stay at the home of the first Papua New Guinea Cardinal and meeting his entire family.  The Cardinal is an uncle of Sr. Bernadette.
We were scheduled to return to Kimbe on Monday but there were some delays with the boat transportation so we left Rabaul at about 4:45 AM on Tuesday morning. 
Our boat on the shore
On the way back to Ulamona, we got to see the sun rise and arrived safely.

O, Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Great Joy in Small Packages

The joys of receiving a package from our daughter!   Brightens the whole day.

Ron & Karen

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Day In The Life

I wonder if you are interested in the rhythm of our days here?

4:00-4:30 AM             Get up to face the day, very much the same as in the USA.

4:30 AM                      Our daily prayers

Coffee and catch some news on Al-Jazeera.  It is very interesting to get the 
news from a perspective other than that given in the USA.

5:30 AM or so            Water is turned on. 

We were asked if we could drink the water from the tap.  Gigi & Max, our children, gave us a water filter to use while here and we are very thankful!

The top container is water from the tap first thing in the morning.  You can see why we prefer to filter.  One of our acquaintances here, a native Papua New Guinean

6:00 AM                      Morning prayer, The Divine Office, in the Cathedral

6:30 AM                      Morning Mass, Cathedral

On Wednesday morning we have the option of attending morning Mass for Caritas School at 7:40AM or evening Mass at 5PM in the Cathedral.

7:00 AM or so            Breakfast and more news
                                    Laundry I try to do one load a day, small wash machine and hang dry
Sweep and dust – this could be done every five minutes and there would still be dust

8:00 AM on                Begin the work day

Ron usually meets with his crew and goes over their work day and then spends the rest of the morning supervising, planning, etc.  Ron is learning to understand the workers’ Pisin and picking up some words.

I usually begin working on various projects which are all computer based at this time.  I am working from our home for many reasons and I visit Chancery Office several times throughout the day with questions or to practice my Pisin. 

9:30-10:15 AM           Water is off for the day

10:00–10:30 AM         Sr. Lomero, one of the Caritas (SCG) sisters, comes to the house for about an hour to
                                     practice her English. 

These sisters are from Korea and oversee the Caritas Secondary Technical School which is in its 2nd year and has over 200 students.  This spring they opened their first dormitory to roughly 60 girls.   At first, I thought I should have a ‘plan’ for these visits but I have learned that she loves to talk and is not shy about learning, so I usually let her pick the subject of the day and help her with pronunciation, grammar and meanings.  This works out very well. 

I have learned some of the history of the Caritas Sisters, founded by the Salesians, as well as about Sr. Lomero’s family, how the sisters are now part of her family, her decision to accept the posting to PNG, and, of course, Korean politics.

Noon                            Belo.  Lunch

1:00 PM or so             The afternoon is much like the morning except MUCH HOTTER!

4:00 – 5:00 PM           End of work day.

4:30 PM or so             Water is turned on for the evening.

5:00 PM                      All stores and the market close.

Two days a week, Deacon to be Boniface comes for our lessons in Pisin.  We also are blessed that he shares about PNG culture, about the different tribes located in West New Britain and some of the traditions from his tribe.  We have also heard about his family and his call to the priesthood.   At some time during the evening, we say the Evening Prayers of the Divine Office in our home.

6:00 PM                      Sunset

Bedtime varies but is usually early.  If there is no event at the Cathedral the grounds become very quiet.  Many evenings we listen to the choir practice or just the sounds of the families around us. 
9:15-10:00 PM            Water goes off for the night

If you wonder, Ron and I are lucky in that our housing has a TV and cable.  The cable company is the same company we get our telephone and internet through, not very reliable, and and all are expensive.  Telephone and internet are not purchased monthly like at home; rather, you purchase the number of megabytes you want for the number of days you hope it will last.  I usually top up for 1 month at 1.2 – 5 GB at K68 – K110, roughly $21.28-$34.42, and still have not made it through the month!  Because of this, we have found a spot, Liamo Reef Club, that offers free Wi-Fi and have started trying to spend part of Saturday or Sunday there.  We have heard there are one or two others, so we will be trying those out as well.

As always, we continue to be thankful for those in the USA who pray for us and support us in so many ways.  You are in our prayers as well.

O, Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Feasts and Work

Last weekend we celebrated Corpus Christi.  As with most of the masses here, the crowd was huge and the procession outstanding! 

Friday, June 8th, we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I spent the morning at Caritas Secondary School for the celebration of the 1-year anniversary in Kimbe Diocese.  Mass followed by presentations of poetry, drama and dance by the students.  It is always fun to be with these girls but today I have no pictures to share.

Priscilla is one of our next-door neighbors.  She is 14 months old and one of the ladies of the Diocese told me she is considered the Diocese Baby.  She is adorable and every time she sees us she comes running with her arms open wide to be picked up and receive hugs.  If our door is open she comes in to visit, which sometimes makes her mother a bit uncomfortable, but the good thing is that she is easy to find.  

On Tuesday of this week, Ron took me to two of the parishes he will be working with on building or maintenance projects.  The first was Mai, the Catechist School where they will be building a chapel.  The grounds are beautiful! 

My Chauffeur
Below is one of the pieces of artwork in the main building which is drawn by Fr. Yarek.    

Jesus, I Trust in You

We then travelled on to Silanga parish where Ron took some measurements for work to be done on a convent to convert it to a duplex for some of the Health Care workers whose homes were damaged in the earthquake.  The drive was lovely but long and the road, the New Britain Highway, is very bumpy.

The bottom pictures overlook one of the palm oil groves along the highway.

Ron and his crew are also busy working on getting the Cathedral grounds ready for construction to begin in July.  The Cathedral roof will be raised and repaired, and some pre-construction work done so that, when funds are available, changes can be made on the interior.  Bishop Bill is meeting with artists in the States for interior art as well.  Today, they worked on pulling down needless light poles, the one pictured below took out an electrical line when it came down.  This was right outside our front door.  
Once construction begins, the vehicle entry in front of our house (actually about 10’ from our front window) will be closed off and the area in front of the Cathedral will become more of a garden setting once construction is finished. 

My projects for the Diocese are more behind the scenes and very tedious.  I must keep reminding myself that Papua New Guinea time is not the same as the US!  If someone says they will get you the information immediately, it might mean 1 week or 6 weeks, who knows for sure?  But, everyone has the best of intentions and part of the problem here is me, in that I still think like an American!  People I have visited with who were Peace Corps Volunteers and past Lay Mission-Helpers assure me this is normal in any country.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ron's Blog of May 20th

Greetings once again from Kimbe, WNB, PNG:

All is well with Karen and I.  We are settled in to our little two bed room.  Did a little cleaning and added some shelving.  It is beginning of the dry season which means it rains every three days or so instead of every day.  It is very hot and humid.  We usually take cold showers in the evening to cool down and remove a layer of sweat and dust. 

The most pleasurable thing for me are the friendly and helpful people.  They are a bit curious as to who we are but after a little more than a month most of the locals know us at least by sight if not by name.  English is spoken by many but the preferred language is Tok Pison.  We are learning it slowly but still not able to converse in it.  Bishop Bill encouraged Deacon-to-be, Boniface, to tutor us in tok pison. 

Boniface completed his seminary studies a few months ago and resides at the Diocese.  The Bishop requires all graduating seminarians to spend a full year at the Diocese so he can get to know them personally.  Boniface and two others, Chris and Joseph, will be ordained as deacons in November and three Deacons who are working in parishes will be ordained the following day.  The Deacons to be teach in the local parish, Catechist school and Cartas school.  They also have liturgical duties at the Cathedral.  Karen and I are blessed to have Boniface helping us with tok pision.  He is an interesting young man who loves music and can be found teaching music to the children and young adults.  He always wears a smile and laughs with regularity; a very happy person.

We have been blessed to get to know Fr. Yarak Wiesnewski, a priest from Poland.  The Bishop says when he offered to send Fr. Yarak to the remote parish of Bariai, Fr. Yarak replied, no electricity, no running water, no problem!  He is charismatic and leads his flock to Jesus Christ with passion.  This parish was without a priest for 45 years prior to Fr. Yarak's arrival. 
He recently made the long journey to Kimbe for the annual Priest retreat.  He brought with him a large contingent of young adults from Bariai and one evening at their gathering he invited Karen and I to join.  He asked that we tell them a bit about ourselves and why we are in PNG.  After a brief talk from us he asked for questions.  A few asked about where we are from and about our families and the work we are doing at Kimbe Diocese.  It was a joyous occasion and we thoroughly enjoyed our brief time with them.

Here is a portion of a letter he wrote to his friends back home:

Dear Friends
As you know after 45 years of “Kilenge Rule” our parish is independent again because we got own priest!   I am 20th October 2017th to Bomai and 24th March was officially introduced by Bishop who visited us in Kudeai and celebrated 85-Jubilee Mass. Governor Muthuuel Sasindra was present.

Working in Bariai is grate adventure and pleasure but always challenging things!  Priest house have no water supply, there is no electricity in none of the 10 churches or 25 schools including Gloster High School.  We do not have car or dingi.  But we don’t give up.

“Fatima Processio” in November and December made overwhelming effect:  200 baptisms, 150 first communions, 100 weddings in church and 20.0103 Kina donation. These money were used to buy 2 engeens and now youths are cutting tree to produce huge boat and use to send 100 youngsters on pilgrimage:  “Bariai – Kimbe – Ulamuna – Rabaul” and visit Blessed Peter Torot grave and so many historic places as Vunapope Cathedral, Minor Seminary, MSC, FMI Sisters, Vunabosco, etc.

This pilgrimage and other activities we do in 2018 are inspired by Pope Francis who proclaimed a “Year of Youths and Vocation Discernment”.  We already did two trips to Kimbe with 60 and 88 youths consequently. Good people always support our limited needs!

We were short in food and petrol but happy with witnessing priestly ordinations in January and Vocation Workshop in March! Average experience 3 or 4 drum petrol and 2 bells of rice daily which makes 2000Kina for petrol and 2000Kina for rice (two weeks program).  Thank you to these activities our youth is lazy to drink alcohols and smoke marihuana faight, still, adultery slowly will disappear. 

Some of youths will be inspired to join seminary or monastery but most will be encouraged to go forward getting education, make business and happy Christian families!
It is our goal and intention!

As young boy I was once in deep crises and some good priests in my native Poland were showing me the way in the dark tunnel of communism!
There is no communism in PNG but we do experience deep poverty which make people angry, drunked or embraced by faight, drugs, adultery.

God Bless
Fr. Yarek – Parish Priest Bariai”

His English is a little rough but I think you can all get the grasp of what he is communicating.

I also want to introduce you to four men I work with on construction projects, Victor, Karol, Israel and Johnny.  These guys have worked off and on for the dioceses the past four or five years.  They had not worked for several months until just recently.  They are a pleasure to work with.  Victor and Karol are the most experienced and skilled in carpentry and general building skills.  Israel and Johnny are a bit younger and learning the trades working with Victor and Karol.

Our first project together was redoing a kitchen in the Priest house.  Since then we have completed several smaller jobs including a new roof for the radio Maria equipment building which is about a half mile from parish grounds up a very steep hill.   The picture above is the completed roof with the “boys”.  We are now building shelving in four offices which are for the Catholic Health Services Administration and minor clinical services.  Five employees in total with a lot of visitors each week.  We are moving them from an office across the grounds which is in need of repair.  Their old office will be refurbished into living quarters or another office; to be determined. 

There are many projects at the diocese grounds and at every parish as most buildings are quite old and maintenance has not been a priority.  I will keep you post on other jobs as we are able to work on them.  Funds are limited so we must prioritize and hope for funding.

My number one job as diocesan property manager is to visit every parish (19) and document and prioritize their building and maintenance.  The first parish we visited in Kailia, a remote village accessible only by boat, has an immediate need for a water pump to lift water from the large rain barrel to a smaller roof top tank to provide gravity fed water to the priest house.  Currently carrying water by bucket and facilities are not used.  This house also needs a solar system to provide basic electrical for lights, outlets and the water pump. 

Our boss, Bishop Bill, is in Pittsburg for some very well deserved rest and medical appointments.  He will be away for two months returning late July.  He is already missed and gone only 6 days.

That’s all for now.  You are all in our prayers that God will be generous to each of you.  Please pray for us and all the people of Kimbe, West New Britain, PNG.