Parish priest, Fr Francy Nambiaparambil, OFM Cap., had invited Bishop Donald to accompany the parish during a weekend of festivities celebrating the Patronal Feast of the Parish. (For you sticklers, yes, the actual feast day of Pope St Pius X had already passed, but this was the weekend, when all of the necessary elements were able to come together for all involved!)
Wiliame is one of the most remote parishes of the diocese. After a two-hour drive from Mendi to Pangia, and then about another one and a half hours from Pangia to where the road ends, and then about another hour and a half hike on a bush track we arrived at the main mission station. The last part of the trip when very quickly, becasue at every village along the way we were greeted by enthusiatic parishioners who welcomed us with flowers, song and happy faces.
The first event was a religious music festival sponsored by the youth of the parish. Music groups from most of the 16 outstations came to take part in the competition. Each had prepared songs to present to the hundreds of youth gathered for the nighttime event that took place in the light of a few florescent tubes lit by a trusty petrol generator. (Needless to say, there is no 'city power' in Wiliame ... yet.) A panel of 7 judges evaluated the performances according to a very thorough grading system. It was a night of joy and praise for all in attendance. (After a long day, the bishop disappeared early to prepare for the festivities of the following day... and to hit the sack!)