Monday, August 3, 2009

Going to Jimi

Once the celebrations were over, the brothers had to quickly shift gears and prepare for Chapter. Fortunately Monday was a free day. Everybody slept. Some friends stayed on to help clean up and prepare a special lunch for us. I got in a satisfying six mile run into the Cathedral and back. Then, late in the afternoon we moved ourselves to Hetune Convent with the Commuity of the Visitation of Our Lady (the CVL Sisters). They'd bravely welcomed us even though their generator wasn't working so there was no electricity, and no running water. We couldn't have cared less!

Tuesday was a Quiet Day with addresses given by the retired Bishop of Dogura, Bishop Sanana. He talked about the adventure of our calling. I was all ears. Much of what he said rang true to me and echoed many of the things we'd heard in America during the Formator's conference. A very pleasant surprise.

Then there was Chapter: reports, discussions, votes. We elected Brother Charles Iada to Life Profession, Br. Samuel Pokia to First Profession. We welcomed back into the noviciate a man (Jerry Ross) who been a brother before (and shared the same date of Profession with me--I was professed in New York October 16, 1993 and he'd been professed that day in PNG). There were a few farewells: the Guardianship of Haruro changed because Wallace's term was up. We elected Selwyn Suma the new Guardian. Br. Gabriel was released from Vows.

As familiar as the process was to all of us, it had a sense of being extra important: the first provincial chapter of the new Province of Papua New Guinea.

We were bone tired by the time we got back to the Friary Friday, but there were still loose ends to tie up. So Saturday was spent waiting. Unfortuantely it took until Saturday night to get everybody together to dot the "i's" and cross the "t's".

Sunday I celebrated and preached: oofdah! But then it was bathing in the river, sleeping in a cool breeze, reading a novel.

Thursday of this week I head off on an adventure: going by ship overnight up the coast to Lae. Br. Robert Eric will meet me and we will leap onto one of the huge trucks cum rural bus called PMV's and travel most of a day to the point closest to the trail head which we will then hike to a village called Jimi and visit the place Br. Justus Van Houten died in 2006. The Brothers have built a friary there, named after Br. Justus. I am also going to meet with the people and assure them of SSF's love and gratitude to them for all that they did for Justus.

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