This summer we visited Bitokara and Valupai parishes. Both parishes are on the very tip of the island and both overlook the ocean. The blacktop runs out before you get to Bitokara and then the way to Valupai is difficult. Bitokara is on the top of a small mountain overlooking the ocean with larger mountains surrounding it.
The Bitokara Parish Priest is Fr. Grzegorz Kasprzycki (Fr. Gregory) from Poland. He is a builder and has rebuilt the convent from just the barebones and built a beautiful new kitchen. No pictures of the convent but take our word for it, stunning.
The church, however, is in dire need of maintenance (if that is what it can be called). Fr. Gregory is working on a classroom for the Missionary Sisters of Charity (MC) to be used teaching the littlest pikininis (Tok Pisin word for children).
Pictures of the Church:
Bitokara had a celebration the day we arrived and we received some welcoming gifts.
The Valupai parish priest is Fr. Jacek Kedzior (Fr. Jack), also from Poland. Valupai is on the beach and the road consists of water ways, large rocks (I MEAN LARGE) and deep drops. Except for feeling like you are going through a ringer, the drive is beautiful and once arrived, worth it!
Pictures of Valupai church:
Both parishes have schools and Bitokara has a ‘hospital’. The hospital has only a few rooms still standing and those that are have portions of walls missing. There is a new school room at Bitokara but the contractors left without finishing (this seems to be common here both in medical centers and schools) and took the keys. The following is a new classroom which is very nice but they hold class with no furniture in Valupai:
In early September, Karen attended a financial seminar in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, with Fr. Gabriel Tovo. The presentation was provided by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and the presenter was from Missio Auchen, Germany. Very informative and it was wonderful to meet people from almost every Diocese in Papua New Guinea.
Goroka Retreat Center, Diocese of Goroka, Eastern Highlands:
On the way back from Goroka, Fr. Tovo and Karen had a layover in Port Moresby so, for the first time, she also got a whirlwind tour of the City. When we arrived in March, we were met at the airport by one of Bishop William’s Capuchin Brothers and spent the night with them. So, this tour allowed her to see the downtown area including government offices.
Since returning things have been relatively quiet. Currently, we are awaiting the return of Bishop William in late October. Thank you to all who have been praying for his recovery from the stroke he suffered in July.
We also, want to thank all who have been holding us in prayer. You are all held in our prayers and are part of the fabric of our Papua New Guinea experience.
O, Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!