Plotinus in the Jungle

Easter 2017

Jesus i kirap pinis.  Jesus is risen.

The seminary celebrated the resurrection of our Lord with a four-story bonfire made of dry bamboo (no pictures, alas), followed by the normal Saturday vigil mass.  Normally, the priest lights the fire and prays, and then we light our candles and go inside; but we just watched the fire in awe for awhile.  The bamboo crackled and splintered due to the air instead being heated, such that our resurrection fire sounded like fireworks!

The 16th was Annie’s sixth birthday.  She opened some presents with her siblings:

We went to the morning Easter service at the seminary.  Annie was especially happy.  She made up a little song about how she is the resurrection (Anastasia ἀναστασις is Greek for resurrection).

Then we went to our friends, the Crouches, for a great Easter meal.  We are especially grateful for them hosting us, since Dr. Mark had been up on call, saving lives, the night before.

 

Annie and Tabby will have a joint birthday party later this month.

Scriptural Stations of the Cross

My family and I led the Scriptural Stations of the Cross at the bi-monthly service for missionaries two Sundays ago at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital.  Here is our program.  Annie read the opening prayer.  Have a blessed Holy Week!

Opening Prayer:

Minister:
God of power and mercy,
in love you sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin
and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect
on his suffering and death
that we may learn from his example
the way we should go.

We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.

All:
Amen.

First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader:
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:36-41)

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.

For it is for thy sake that I have borne reproach,
that shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brethren,
an alien to my mother’s sons.

For zeal for thy house has consumed me,
and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me. (Psalm 69)

What Wondrous Love is This, Verse 1:

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?

Minister:Lord, grant us your strength and wisdom,
that we may seek to follow your will in all things

All:Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.(Mark 14: 43-46)
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief,
my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away.

11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror to my neighbors,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
13 Yea, I hear the whispering of many—
terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life. (Psalm 31)

What Wondrous Love is This, verse 2:
When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down, sinking down;
when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.

Minister: Lord,grant us the courage of our convictions
that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.

All:Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

 

Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.”
(Luke 22: 66-71)

12 “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.
13 He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child of the Lord.
14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
15 the very sight of him is a burden to us,
because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
and his ways are strange.
16 . . . he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
and boasts that God is his father.
17 Let us see if his words are true,
and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
18 for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him,
and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
19 Let us test him with insult and torture,
that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
for, according to what he says, he will be protected.” (Wisdom of Solomon 2)

Ah, Holy Jesus, Verse 1:
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!


Minister:
Lord, grant us your sense of righteousness
that we may never cease to work
to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: 54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; 55 and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later some one else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22)

16 Answer me, O Lord, for thy steadfast love is good;
according to thy abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not thy face from thy servant;
for I am in distress, make haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to me, redeem me,
set me free because of my enemies!

19 Thou knowest my reproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to thee.
20 Insults have broken my heart,
so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none;
and for comforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me poison for food,
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalm 69)

Ah, Holy Jesus. Verse 2:
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

Minister:Lord, grant us the gift of honesty
that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas… [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.
(Mark 15: 1-5, 15)

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53)

Ah, Holy Jesus. Verse 4:
For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Minister: Lord, grant us discernment
that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader:
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,”Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly.
(John 19: 1-3)

13 Behold, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high.
14 As many were astonished at him—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the sons of men—
15 so shall he startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they shall see,
and that which they have not heard they shall understand. (Isaiah 52)

O Sacred Head, Verse 1:
O sacred head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, your only crown.
O sacred head, what glory
and blessing you have known!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I claim you as my own.

Minister:Lord, grant us patience in times of suffering
that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” … They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
(John 19: 6, 15-17)

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53)

When I survey the Wondrous Cross, verse 1
When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Minister:
Lord, grant us strength of purpose
that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: As they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon the Cyrenean who was coming in from the fields. They put a crossbeam on Simon’s shoulder for him to carry along behind Jesus.” —Luke 23:26

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men.”

34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?[c] 37 For what can a man give in return for his life? (Mark 8)

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, verse 2:
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.

Minister: Lord, grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”
(Luke 23: 27-31)

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Ha′dad-rim′mon in the plain of Megid′do. 12 The land shall mourn, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; . . . 14 and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves. 1 On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. (Zechariah 12-13)

When I survey the Wondrous Cross, verse 3:
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?


Minister:
Lord, grant us gentle spirits
that we may comfort those who mourn.

Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 33-34)

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.

But I am a worm, and no man;
scorned by men, and despised by the people.
All who see me mock at me,
they make mouths at me, they wag their heads;
“He committed his cause to the Lord; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax,
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
thou dost lay me in the dust of death.

16 Yea, dogs are round about me;
a company of evildoers encircle me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my raiment they cast lots. (Psalm 22)

Where you there, verse 1:
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Minister:Lord, grant us merciful hearts
that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23: 39-43)

17 “For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth;
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice for ever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing,
and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the child shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
23 They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their children with them.
24 Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 65)

Jesus, Remember Me (2 times):

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom
Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom


Minister:
Lord, grant us perseverance
that we may never stop seeking you.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19: 25-27

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all cattle,
and above all wild animals;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3)

Were you there, verse 2:
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailied him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Minister: Lord, grant us constancy
that we may be willing to stand by those in need.

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23: 44-46)

After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori′ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took with him his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. . . . And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for the offering, my son.” (Genesis 22)

Were you there, verse 4:
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Minister:Lord, grant us trust in you
that when our time on earth in ended
our spirits may come to you without delay.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader:
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. (Matthew 27: 57-60)

And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him;
he has put him to grief;
when he makes himself an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand;
11     he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous;
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out his soul to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Were you there, verse 5:
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Minister:Lord, grant us your compassion
that we may always provide for those in need.

Closing Prayer:

Minister:
Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.

All:
Amen

 

How Great Thou Art, Verse 3:

And when I think that God, his Son not sparing, sent him to
die, I scare can take it in.  That on the cross, my burden gladly
bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: How great thou art! How great thou are!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: How great thou art! How great thou are!

 

the famous one

Anastasia’s fifteen minutes of fame should get some airtime on the blog, I suppose.

Annie’s dance team was invited to dance at another guesthouse opening, like they did in Minj.  This guesthouse was in Banz, and we assumed that there would be two to four singsing groups there. We got to the rugby field to find it mobbed by people and dance teams.

Warming up in an empty lot across the street

Listening to directions

Each dance team processed into the rugby field past the grandstand through a huge crush of people culminating at a narrow gate. This entrance took it out of Annie somewhat, so we sneaked her out the back door and fed her a sausage flour in a kai bar, away from curious eyes. Refreshed by the golden batter fresh from the fryer, she ventured back in. Miriam commented, “Now she is dancing well.”

Apparently many other people thought so too, as a crowd three or four deep began to form:

Yes, Annie is in there somewhere

The crowd followed along as the team danced its way around the rugby field. Some commotion started up by the grandstand: the Minister for Tourism had arrived! He brought with him a reporter from the Post-Courier, a TV crew from NBC Papua New Guinea, and a drone.

There were announcements from the grandstand: “Do not be afraid. It will not harm you. It is only taking your picture.”

Pretty soon, the Tourism Minister was standing in front of Annie to watch her group!

Tourism minister, at right, in lei. Anastasia, at left, turning around for dramatic drum hit.

He gave Annie K100 as a prize for dancing well, and she used some of it to buy soft drinks for the whole team when they were done. Miriam and I were both interviewed by the reporter, and a few days later, Annie showed up in the newspaper, complete with a lead on the first page! “Girl, Age 6, Promotes PNG Culture”.

Our neighbor, John Ding, also reported catching a glimpse of her singing during a segment on NBC PNG about the guesthouse opening and the activities of the Minister for Tourism.

Fr. Michael Anis, the former parish priest in Banz, used to call Anastasia “the famous one”… it gets truer all the time!

Satisfied with a job well done

Guava Season: Photo Essay

Inauguration Mass 2017

Our school year started at the beginning of February. After a week-long retreat for the students, we kick off the new academic year with an opening mass and communal meal.

Our celebrant for the mass was Bishop Anton Bal of Kundiawa Diocese.

Afterward we took the opportunity to take some photos of the students.

Here are all the students, plus the Rector Fr. Paul Sundu (in green stole), Bishop (in biretta), lecturer John Ding (on left, behind flowers), Dean of Studies Michael Epri (behind and to the left of the Rector), Brandon, and Annie.

The new first-year class of 26 students, 14 of which are from Kundiawa Diocese.

The nine second-year seminarians, three of which come from Daru-Kiunga Diocese.

We are very glad to have doubled our enrollment from last year. For one thing, the students can now play rugby, soccer, and ultimate frisbee and still have subs left over! Now we need to double our residential staff. Please pray for us as we continue in the new school year!

GSS 25th Anniversary 2016

Our graduation festivities at the end of last year coincided with our celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Good Shepherd’s founding.

We started with a prayer by the grave of our founder, Fr. Peter von Adrichem, svd, down at Fatima Parish, which he also founded.

The pickup truck that has been with the seminary from the beginning, driven by John Ding, a founding staff member.

James Lepinus, of Daru-Kiunga Diocese, and Gabriel Tiene, of Kundiawa Diocese

An important event in PNG often includes people wearing bilas. One of the graduating students put on his traditional highlands outfit, and Annie’s singsing group was also engaged for the occasion.

Both Annie and Tabitha got dressed up

Annie’s fur pelt is a cuscus, formerly the neighbor’s pet. I am not sure what kind of stripy chipmunk-sized pelt Tabitha has on.

Together with the singsing group

Priests who had graduated from Good Shepherd from the surrounding dioceses came to celebrate with us.

The entrance procession

Bishop Donald Lippert, OFM-Cap of Mendi,  Bishop Arnold Orowae of Wabag, and Archbishop Douglas Young, SVD of Mt. Hagen, also came to celebrate with us. After the mass giving thanks for the 25 years of Good Shepherd Seminary’s existence, we moved to the student hall to give out the diplomas. Four students graduated with their Advanced Diplomas in Religious Studies, and two graduated with their Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies. The day ended with a mumu.

Annie patiently stood with our neighbor Cornelia in the student hall, while Tabitha went back to take her bilas off!

We pray that God will bless the future of Good Shepherd Seminary, and send us both staff and students!

Portrait of Tobiah at 13 months

Tobiah didn’t get a birthday post yet, but the anniversary of his baptism just happened, so now is as good a time as any to catch up.

I took some photos on the back porch on his birthday:

The single dimple is still killer

The single dimple is still killer

He is still devoted to his two fingers

He is still devoted to his two fingers

Taking a few steps!

Taking a few steps!

Later in the day we opened a package from his Nona.

A package commands everyone's rapt attention

A package commands everyone’s rapt attention

Opening a birthday present.

Opening a birthday present… with a giant pile of laundry in the background. 

Tobiah currently loves candles and making blowing noises. He was thrilled with our advent wreath in December. If we didn’t light it promptly he would look at it and say “pffooff! pffofff!”

a big smile for his very own candle

a big smile for his very own candle

yum yum, birthday cake

yum yum, birthday cake

birthday bath to wash off all that chocolate frosting

birthday bath to wash off all that chocolate frosting

Tobiah is an expert crawler and can get around at high speeds:

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He likes cats and dogs, especially dogs right now. All the animals in the nativity scene say “arf, arf, arf,” according to Tobiah.

with a stuffed dog Annie named Balogna when she was two

with a stuffed dog Annie named Bologna when she was two

He spends more and more time standing up or climbing on the furniture

Holding onto his bilum

Holding onto his bilum

taking more steps!

taking more steps, stumbling right towards the photographer!

His favorite messes to make are upsetting the pencils and eating the crayons, pulling out handfuls of flour and rice to fling around the kitchen, and taking down all the shoes from the shelf:

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Papua New Guineans really appreciate his social skills of waving and saying byebye and shaking hands, of which I just realized I don’t have a photo yet.

And Tobiah is somewhat catlike in his “if I fits, I sits” attitude towards boxes:

everyone loves to play with christmas present packaging

everyone loves to play with christmas present packaging

Other interests include sitting outside and poking things with sticks, flinging his sock monkey at other parishioners during mass, and eating inordinate numbers of peas.

We love you Tobiah! Happy anniversary of entering the church!

 

Bilas Girl in Minj

Going to the Goroka show re-sparked Annie’s interest in traditional dance. We heard that her dance team was going to the nearby town of Minj to dance; it turned out they had been hired to provide some local color for the opening of a hotel.  So Annie decided to join her dance team in Minj. Miriam went with her and took a few pictures.

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When she came back she said there were two or three other dance teams there as well. She ate her piece of pork meat that she brought back from the mumu and fell into bed! It did re-cement Annie’s status as a local celebrity. The next day, every vendor in the market said “we heard you danced in Minj!”

Annie and another bilas girl

Annie and another bilas girl. Her dad drives by us on the road sometimes and always says “hey, you danced together with my daughter!” 

Our neighbor Cornelia graduated from eighth grade recently, finishing her years in primary school. Cornelia wore bilas as part of the graduation festivities and Tabitha wanted to dress up too, so they indulged her whim. It ended up being good practice for Good Shepherd’s graduation! A post on that topic coming soon.

Tabitha plays dress-up

Tabitha plays dress-up

Mendi Christmas 2016

We had a lovely time spending the holiday weekend visiting the Diocese of Mendi. It’s about 70 miles away from Mt. Hagen, in Southern Highlands Province. We enjoyed the hospitality of the Capuchin Franciscans very much, staying in their guest house and eating meals with the friars.

Br. Michael, Br. Ray, Bp. Don, Fr. Coleman

Br. Michael, Br. Ray, Bp. Don, Fr. Coleman

We arrived on Friday and had a nice tour of the compound given by a seminarian, Thomas, who just graduated from the BA program. We saw the cathedral, the catechist training centre, the community heath workers’ school, and Bishop Don‘s house. Thomas also told us about the Jubilee the Diocese had just celebrated for their 50th anniversary.

Saturday morning Brandon walked around Mendi town with a local catechist, Roland, who showed him the sights, such as the two multi-story buildings and the market, where the sight of Brandon and Tabitha buying corn to make corn pudding almost incited a riot.

Roland was very kind in carrying our children

Roland was very kind in carrying our children over the course of our stay!

Saturday evening was the Christmas Eve mass at the Cathedral. Anastasia had been feeling a bit sickly, so despite having practiced a procession with the local children and procured the materials for candleholders, she slept through the mass! Brandon and Tabitha attended as our family delegates.

Very festively decorated

Very festively decorated

the childrens' procession passes by Sr. Gaudencia and some Missionaries of Charity

the children’s procession passes by Sr. Gaudencia of Switzerland and some Missionaries of Charity

Christmas morning, Sunday, we went with the Bishop to the opening of a new outstation.

St. Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of PNG

St. Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of PNG

A very hearty welcome

A very hearty welcome

We learned that there would also be about 20 confirmations that day as well.

A boy who was to be confirmed, at left

A boy who was to be confirmed, at left

processing up the hill to the new church building

processing up the hill to the new church building

As they marched, they chanted “Merry Christmas Bishop, Welcome Bishop, Merry Christmas Bishop, Welcome Bishop…”

Bp. Don is good at marching in time!

Bp. Don is good at marching in time! They presented Brandon with a hat too.

Mass was outdoors, because the crowd gathered would not have fit in the new church.

The altar and its bilas

The altar and its bilas

Tobiah and Tabitha liked sitting on tarps for church; they could roam around more easily!

Tobiah and Tabitha liked sitting on tarps for church; they could roam around more easily!

One of the reasons we came with the Bishop to this mass was that it is the home place of one of our seminarians, who just started the BA program in the new cohort. Steven is carrying the bucket of holy water, at left, below.

Bishop Don sprinkles holy water on the parishoners as part of the rite of Confirmation

Bishop Don sprinkles holy water on the parishioners as part of the rite of Confirmation

The Bishop’s message in the homily was: if you ask “God i stap we?” the answer is, “God i stap wantaim yumi.”

Tabitha, are you paying attention to the Bishop's sermon?

Tabitha, are you paying attention to the Bishop’s sermon?

After Mass we were served a nice lunch of rice, chicken, and vegetables in the catechist’s house.

After mass, with Steven (holding Tabitha) and parishioners

After mass, with Steven (holding Tabitha) and parishioners

The big meal of the day was the Diocesan Christmas Party that night, of which we took no pictures but had a great time. It was a potluck, so Brandon made a giant batch of corn pudding, a link to his family’s traditions. Br. Ray, one of our Capuchin hosts, made scalloped potatoes, and the Missionaries of Charity brought naan and curry, among many others. As we ate, Fr. Isaiah told me about his world tour this past summer, with all the places in the US he stopped – including PA, MD, DC, and CO! After the food, there was singing of carols in different Tok Ples – Bishop Don sang in Spanish, we did Go Tell it on the Mountain, Fr. Isaiah sang in Huli… the Swiss sisters, whom have been here since the 60s, started a German carol but forgot the words halfway through, to much laughter. There were Polish carols and a Swahili carol and carols from Chimbu. And Santa Claus, whose pillow belly had a habit of escaping and whose mustache had migrated up on top of his nose, made a hilarious appearance.

We ourselves opened a few presents in front of the Capuchins’ Christmas tree earlier that day.

Tabitha and Tobiah try in vain to read the names on the presents

Tabitha and Tobiah try in vain to read the names on the presents

The children would retire to the couch just to gaze at the ornaments

The children would retire to the couch just to gaze at the ornaments

Tabitha gazes fondly at a new DVD

Tabitha gazes fondly at a new DVD

Tobiah clambers over his new soccer shirt

Tobiah clambers over his new soccer shirt

On Monday, we climbed up a local mountain, as we are wont to do. There are some very striking limestone cliffs by Mendi town, and we scaled one, Mt. Kebin, with Steven, the seminarian, his brother Tombo, Roland the catechist, and 22 village children. It was a very steep and muddy ascent, at times like rock climbing but with more mud, but we made it! … without our camera, sadly. The way down was through the rainforest, which was less steep but even more muddy. We even ate well on the mountain – the village children picked us a pint of “bush tomatoes,” which seem to be ground cherries, the sweet-tart variety of tomatillo, and Steven’s sister Alice served us “the best kaukau” Brandon had ever eaten in PNG in her cookhouse at the foot of the mountain. (This kaukau was orange and soft, like American sweet potato.)

We were on top of that patch of limestone

We were on top of that patch of limestone

Monday night we opened more presents with the friars.

Br. Michael, as the guardian, was the elf

Br. Michael, as the guardian, was the elf

Br. Ray chuckles over his present as Fr. Coleman looks on

Br. Ray chuckles over his present as Fr. Coleman looks on

We really appreciated having a relaxing holiday with nothing to do but spend time with our family and the other missionaries. Br. Ray and Fr. Coleman have both been in PNG since the 60s and it was great to hear some of their stories (like how Fr. Coleman won the ping-pong trophy against some Australian soldiers before independence) as well as from the Sisters from Switzerland, who had us over for Christmas cookies and played balloons with the girls.

We drove back on Tuesday, stopping at the Archdiocese of Mt. Hagen Christmas party on the way to enjoy some mint chocolate chip ice cream and hear the annual summary of movements and events read out by the Archbishop.

This year we have decided to keep the 12 days of Christmas and are opening one present per person each day. So we set up a little tabletop tree at home for our presents to go “under.”

It was Tabitha's turn to hand out the presents

It was Tabitha’s turn to hand out the presents. Also, yes, it is warm enough for sundresses and sandals at Christmastime.

Tidings of comfort and joy

Tidings of comfort and joy

We are having ourselves a Merry Christmas and we hope you are too, as you reflect on the tidings of great joy which are for ALL people.

New BA Cohort

Last year, I took over Good Shepherd’s BA in Religious Studies Program during the first residential.  If I had not taken it over, the program would have died.  I think the plan of the program is great.  We give our recently graduated students intensive training in pastoral work and in social research methods, they go and do pastoral work for a year and conduct a research project in which they use social research methods to bring clarity to a pastoral issue facing the PNG Church, such as why youth are leaving the Catholic Church, the effect polygamy has on Catholic families, whether there is a correlation between family prayer and reduced domestic violence.  Unfortunately, due to the seminary’s limited resources, the program’s implementation has always been difficult.

For our 2017 cohort, I had complete control.  I created the application forms and determined the tuition costs.  I, the Rector, and the Dean of Studies decided who would be accepted.  I made the schedule for the first residential period (Nov 14 – Dec 2), and I recruited the lecturers for the different courses.  And since our secretary quit, I also photocopied the readings for the different courses and Rebecca bound them!  We accepted seven men, the program’s largest cohort yet:

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Going across from upper left to lower right:

Godwin: A layman and teacher from Kerema who is interested in the impact that religious education classes have on the faith life of primary students.

Solomon: A layman from Kundiawa who is interested in the effect polygamy has on a Catholic family’s ability to practice the faith.

Mathias: A layman and teacher from Jiwaka who is interested in the active participation of the laity in the liturgy.

Michael: A layman from Kundiawa who is interested in why the youth/young adults are leaving the Catholic Church.

Anton: A layman and prison chaplain from Goroka now working in Port Moresby who is interested in ecumenism in prison ministry.

Gabriel: A seminarian from Kundiawa who is interested in why seminarians leave the formation program.

Steven: A seminarian from Mendi who is interested in why Catholics join other denominations.

Please pray for our students and for me as I try to guide them to success!

I am very happy with the number of laymen who are in this year’s cohort.  All of them are ex-seminarians.  The BA program gives them a chance to finish their education and gain good skills to serve their church and community.  I hope that the successful inclusion of laymen in the BA program could open the way for the seminary to generally accept lay students.