Solomon Islands – The feast day of St. Stephen, the first martyr and patron of Sulumoni Christian Community on Kolombangara Island, was celebrated on December 26th. The simple chapel was decorated and the liturgy was well prepared by the community members. The Guanellian Fathers from Noro Parish traveled 45 minutes by the Parish boat on the open sea and celebrated the feast day Mass for about 55 people, 7 families from Sulumoni and 5 families from Nugusu Village participated and received the feast day and Christmas special blessings.
Solomon Islands – The word carol actually means dance or song of praise and joy. The idea of Christians caroling brings to mind jolly bands of Church-goers, dressed in shawls and hats, going door-to-door, also known as wassailing, an old Norse term to spread the spirit of Christmas.
In this spirit-filled tradition, the carolers of St. Eusebius Parish, consisting of youth, catechists, children and two Guanellian Fathers, visited 197 families of Noro, Canaan, Rawaki, Malluke and Munda Islands from December 10th-17th. All the families were overwhelmed with joy to receive the Christmas blessing and Father Christmas (Santa Claus) who accompanied the carolers merry making with his Jingle bell dance. The presence and fortification of God was felt through the fine weather and gave Him thanks for the warm welcome by other denominations like Anglican and United Church families to sing and bless their houses too.
As the saying goes, “well begun is half done,” missionary activities in Solomon Islands have successfully begun. The Bishop of Gizo, Luciano Cappelli, entrusted the Parish St. Eusebius. The Population is 521 from 96 families, among them 211 are employed, mostly in Soltuna and fish factories. The parish has a kindergarten with 69 children. The Parish is surrounded by many other denominations: Anglicans, South Evangelical Church and United Church. Therefore, we have mixed family realities. In the parish they started a small Christian community last year and this year we have started to celebrate masses there. Mass is celebrated everyday in the parish and two days in the small Christian communities. Groups are functioning well in the Parish. We are also planning to start a Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Couples for Christ, Eusebius Bureau for Employment Guidance and more.
There are four substations and a small group of Catholics on 3 nearby Islands with two schools where Catholic students need our presence. Thus we are trying to visit and celebrate Mass at least once a month. The population of substations is 820 from 150 families. The biggest substation is Canaan where the population is 614 and they have a kindergarten with 30 children and so have we started the weekend ministry here to stay from Saturday until Sunday afternoon. Though the official language is English, all are communicating in Pijin and normally each Island has their own dialect. We discovered that there are 145 persons with disabilities. Since they live on different islands the distance is challenging to reach out to them. With help from Fr. Luigi, we are preparing the Project for the CBR program. Therefore, we have lot of work to be done here. Let us pray for more laborers, for the harvest is plentiful!