Plotinus in the Jungle

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A PNG Ordination

Back in December, before we left for the States, Annie and I went to an ordination ceremony at a village northwest of Mt. Hagen.  The man being ordained, Matthew, had been stationed as a deacon at Tupa parish.  We had gone to Tupa for a church opening when we first arrived in PNG and then visited it again later simply in order to see more of the area.  So we knew Matthew.  So as not to bore you with my verbosity, the rest of this post will mostly be a slideshow.

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We were greeted at the entrance to the ceremony area by Matthew (the dark man on the right) and some dancers. It is the custom for the priest candidate to begin the ceremony in traditional garb.


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Here are the priests processing it. Ordinations are big deals in PNG. Every priest who can come, does.


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My employer, the archbishop of Mt. Hagen.


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Some parishioners from Tupa did a ‘welcome dance’. Annie and I were sitting on the ground with the people, hence the side perspective of my shots.


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Matthew’s family escorted him to the bishop.


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The future priest. Other priests here at Good Shepherd have similar pictures of themselves in their traditional clothes on the day of their ordination. Assembling all those feather is an important and costly endeavor.

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I think these children are bringing up the Gospel. Processions involving a single guitar player in the back are quite common in Catholic liturgies.


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Matthew wears his deacon outfit during the actual ordination.

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Fr. Peter Hinawaii, one of our theology lecturers, is giving Matthew a blessing. The priest on the right is Fr. Joe, a missionary priest from Indonesia. He runs Fatima parish.


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A blessing from Fr. Christian Sieland. Rebecca went to his ordination in the mountains of Chimbu.


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A blessing from our rector, Fr. Clement Papa.


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A blessing from our Dean of Studies, Fr. Raphael Mel.


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Matthew is in the process of receiving his cassock.


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Yay for Fr. Matthew!

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The legion of Mary brings up the offering.


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Noses are painted red in the Western Highlands on special occasions. I was once walking with Anastasia in Jiwaka and passed a number of girls with red noses. They were marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception!

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During the speeches at the end of ceremony, Annie and I went for a short walk. This is mt. Hagen, after which the city of Mt. Hagen is named. The city is on the other side of the mountain.


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The local countryside . . .


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Here are some friends that Annie made during our walk.

We walked back and received blessing from the new priest.  Then Annie and I joined the priests, religious, and the archbishop for lunch.

I had a nice chat with Archbishop about Zionism in PNG.  Apparently PNG always votes with Israel in the United Nations, because they, like some American Protestants, identity the modern secular state of Israel with the Biblical people of God!  One result of this Zionism is that Covenant Day is an official holiday in PNG.  Covenant Day marks the fact that PNG has made a covenant with God to be a Christian nation.  If only the covenant had had an anti-corruption clause!

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