Catholic Diocese of Mendi

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Monday, 24 August 2015 07:13

Lake Kopiago - Part 2 - Church Blessing

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As we arrived at the mission station, we are awed by the sight of the new church.  Lake Kopiago, as mentioned, is located in the most remote area of the Diocese of Mendi.  The only way to get to Lake Kopiago is by small plane.  At dry times, it is possible, though potentially dangerous, to attempt a land route.  

The church building rose before our eyes and we could hardly believe it. It is a mammouth structure that was built by a handful of non-professional carpenters without the assistance of cranes or lifts.  It was all done with human ingenuity and strenuous, hard work.

Timber was provided by local landowners.  But the people had to carry the timber hours and hours over mountainous terrain.  Other materials came in by plane and were carried by the people from the airstrip to the mission station.  Everyone, young and old, partiicpated as they could.  Some help was provided by the Catholic people of Korea, however, over the last year or so, people raised and contributed funds from the sale of peanuts, and other garden food.  

After our arrival and a short interval to make the last minute preparations, the celebrations of the Solemn Dedication of the Church began.  The festivities began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  Bishop Donald was joined by Father Elias, Deacon Alen, Sister Gaudentia and Sister Odilia - immediately followed by the blessing of the Grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a small Grotto of Saint Michael the Archangel, Patron Saint of Papua New Guinea.

A procession then formed at the sacristy and the ministers were led by a singsing group to the door of the new church.  The Holy Mass began with the blessing and sprinkling of holy water on the people and around the inner perimeter of the church.  After the Scripture readings Bishop Donald spoke of three Holy Houses: the Body of Jesus Himself, the new church building at Kopiago and each individual baptized person.  All places where the Spirit of God dwells.  Where God is close to the People of God.

The Rite of Dedication began after the homily, starting with the Litany of Saints led by Father Elias and Sister Odilia.  Next the bishop prayed the Prayer of Dedication of the church and altar.  Following the prayer, the bishop anointed the altar and the walls of the church with Sacred Chrism.  In the Catholic Church, the church building is not just an assembly hall but rather a sacred place of encounter with the Holy God.

The people participated in the Holy Mass with devotion and enthusiasm, proud and deeply happy to come to this stage after so much hard work and sacrifice.

(Part Three of this series will follow the blessing of a staff house for a mission health worker.  Please don't miss it.)


Read 1204 times Last modified on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 11:58

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