Celebration in Rabaul on January 6, 2024
The Community-Taller of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea was the first community to celebrate the 150th year of the Birth of the Josephine Charism in the Province. Amidst the simple people of the mission post, the Catholic Community of Iawakaka felt so blessed by the presence of Archbishop Sir John Cardinal Ribat, MSC and the Bishop of Wewak with a very meaningful celebration of the Eucharist in the Parish Church.
During his homily, the Cardinal acknowledged before the Community, the beautiful mission of the SSJ in the Archdiocese of Port Moresby, Diocese of Bereina and in Rabaul. He encouraged young ladies who might want to be sisters to join the Congregation. During the offertory, the “Three Kings” offered their symbolic gifts to the Cardinal wrapped with Banana leaf and after Communion, Peter Made, the Church Leader of the Sub-Parish, thanked the Cardinal and the Bishop for coming to Iawakaka Community for the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the SSJ Sisters whose presence in the Sub-Parish have been causing notable changes taking place in the Community. He also thanked the Overseas Filipino Workers, who came to attend the celebration, for their generosity and for helping in the fund-raising for the construction of a new Sub-Parish Church.
Erlinda Tuzon expressed her gratitude to God for the gift of our Congregation and for faithfully journeying with the SSJ for 150 years. She thanked the Community for generously and joyfully serving the people since they arrived in 2020. Then, she thanked the Iawakaka Community for preparing the Church and for their active participation in the mass. Their beautiful choir made the celebration very meaningful.
After the mass, the Cardinal and the Bishop blessed and unveiled a wood carving made by the husband of their trainee in Sewing with the inscription:
150 Years of the Foundation
Servants of St. Joseph
St. Bonifacia Rodriguez , SSJ and
Fr. Francisco Butinya, SJ
which was posted the sisters’ doorpost.
The experience was very touching while the people were singing songs of praise and gratitude with all their heart.
For a break, everybody enjoyed the much-awaited ice-cream served for the children and soft drinks for the papas and mamas (brought by our wantoks/co-Filipinos). It was a great moment to share the spirit of Nazareth in its crude reality among the poor.
Celebration in Port Moresby on January 7, 2024
The two Communities-Taller in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea celebrated the opening of the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of the Josephine Charism with a Thanksgiving Mass held at St. Joseph’s Parish presided by Fr. Bruce Kupi, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Vicar. The parish priest, Fr. John Curtis, and three missionary priests concelebrated. It was really a celebration with everybody present on this occasion: the parishioners, missionaries, the Josephine family – the Lay Josephines, collaborators, support groups, benefactors, friends, former residents and students. Fr. Bruce, who was once a youth member of the Youth Ministry where the SSJs work, shared his experiences and expressed his gratitude to the sisters who inspired his vocation to the priesthood. After the communion, the whole Christian Community expressed their gratitude with a song for the presence of SSJ in Papua New Guinea.
A healthy-hearty lunch was served in the Parish Hall where everyone enjoyed a short program and great fellowship. Lunch ended with the cutting of the cake signifying the opening of the yearlong Celebration of the 150 Anniversary of our Josephine Charism. Those present were invited to support and collaborate with the SSJ in their activities and future projects for women and youth and to continue weaving Nazareth in Papua New Guinea.