After so much work and preparations, five young Papua New Guinean missionaries of the Society of Divine Word (SVD) will now be taking up their missions abroad.
A Mission Cross service was conducted at the St. Paul’s Parish in Mt Hagen in Western Highlands Province, where Fr. Jerry Kurai of Enga, Fr. John Sine of Simbu, Fr. Rex Andrew of Mt Hagen, and Fr. John Hal of Mendi with Br. Raphael Goima of Mt Hagen were commissioned.
The missionaries were blessed and bestowed with the Mission Cross, allowing them to be of service to people and communities they will be working with in countries they are assigned to. SVD Provincial Superior, Fr. Jose Orathinkal said that the giving of the Mission Cross is a practice that has been carried down from the founder of SVD Congregation, and that the Cross of Christ protects the missionaries from all forms of harm, giving hope and encouragement when the missionaries grow weary from toil.
The PNG SVD Provinces were joyful of the four priests and the brother who were assigned to countries where they are needed to administer the Word through pastoral programs.
“It is a moment of great joy, gratitude, and pride not only for the SVD Congregation and family of these missionaries, but also for the Church in PNG.” Fr Jerry Kurai was assigned to Chad (Central Africa), Fr John Sine to Argentina, Br Raphael Goimba’s mission in Zambia (Africa), Fr Rex Andrew to Kenya (Africa) and Fr John Hal to the Philippines.
The five will add up to the other nine already serving overseas whom are Fr. Francis Koimb from Mt Hagen serving in Ghana, Fr Dennis Nyaura from Sepik working in Bolivia, Fr. Paul Bina from Simbu in Argentina, Fr. Andrew Masi from Sepik in Timor, Fr. Alex Garuai from Buka in Zimbabwe, Fr. Shadrach Ketiga from Mt Hagen in Jamaica, Br. Aloysius Aisi from Port Moresby in the US, Br. David Nikins of Mt Hagen in the US, and Fr. Jeremiah Kaumbal from Sepik in Germany.
The local missionaries going abroad are assigned to four regions of the world; the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Americas, and Europe. Furthermore, the SVD PNG Province has come of age since 1896, and it is now time for PNG to reach out to places, families, people, and communities where they have been sending missionaries to serve Papua New Guinea over the years.
“SVD PNG Province is also grateful to eight of our missionary priests who have served abroad starting from early 2000 and have returned back to the country. You all have done the SVD PNG Province proud in taking the Word there, and also represented PNG well during the time of your mission work.”
There are now 14 Papua New Guinean SVDs missionaries working in different parts of the world. While some have worked for some years and have come back, there are also around 12 Papua New Guinean SVD seminarians studying abroad.