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The Return of Bilas Girl, Nuncio Edition

At the end of October all of our second-year students were installed into the Ministry of Lector, an important step on their road to the priesthood. The Apostolic Nuncio of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands was the main celebrant. As the “mausman” of the Pope, it was a big deal that he was coming.

So, what do you do in PNG when something is a big deal? You put on bilas, of course.

She was pretty psyched.

She was pretty psyched.

Margaret, the wife of our computer lecturer, in Chimbu attire

Margaret, the wife of our computer lecturer, in Chimbu attire

Anna Ding, our neighbor, helped Annie get dressed and loaned her the cuscus skin of an ex-pet.

Anna Ding, our neighbor, helped Annie get dressed and loaned her the cuscus skin of an ex-pet.

Warm-up singing led by Cecelia Nolie, in blue; Annie went to a practice/training singsing for children that she organized

Warm-up singing led by Cecelia Nolie, in blue; Annie went to a practice/training singsing for children that she organized

It was great to see Annie in full form.

It was great to see Annie in full form.

We got word that the Nuncio was getting close, so everyone moved to position in front of the Fatima sub-health centre.

We got word that the Nuncio was getting close, so everyone moved to position in front of the Fatima sub-health centre.

You can see the car coming!

You can see the car coming!

Processing in to Good Shepherd- the Nuncio is in grey to the left

Processing in to Good Shepherd- the Nuncio is in grey to the left

Then we all sat down to hear some speeches.

Then we all sat down to hear some speeches.

The rector, Fr. Clement, welcomes the Nuncio and his secretary, Fr. Abel of Togo.

The rector, Fr. Clement, welcomes the Nuncio and his secretary, Fr. Abel, as the Dean of Studies, Fr. Raphel Mel, looks on

Obtaining bilas to wear for an occasion is an interesting mix of the traditional relationship-based economy-- you have to find someone you know-- and the modern cash economy-- the feathers are hired. Miriam, our babysitter, lent out all her feathers and went to softball training instead.

Obtaining bilas to wear for an occasion is an interesting mix of the traditional relationship-based economy– you have to find someone you know– and the modern cash economy– the feathers are hired. Miriam, our babysitter, lent out all her feathers and went to softball training instead.

Family portrait with our two favorite Archbishops- Abp. Douglas Young of Mount Hagen and Abp. Michael Banach

Family portrait with our two favorite Archbishops- Abp. Douglas Young of Mount Hagen and Abp. Michael Banach

We enjoyed the Nuncio’s visit a good deal. He’s originally from Massachusetts (my home province!, I told the Dings) and is very friendly and personable. He came over for breakfast and chatted over pancakes. The mass was on the first Feast day of John Paul II, whom PNG has a lot of affection for as he visited the country multiple times. At the mumu feast afterward, we looked around the table and realized that there was a representative from every inhabited continent- a priest from Togo, Poland, and Indonesia, seminarians from PNG and Chile, and lay missionaries from the US. In his remarks after the cake-cutting the Nuncio said that the people in the room were a church in miniature– bishops and priests and seminarians, but even more mothers and fathers and children (local guests plus families of the second years). It was a truly catholic experience.

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3 Comments

  1. Doris says:

    Thanks Brandon for the up-date, love the pictures. Soon we will be together hope your flight is comfortable.
    We will see you in a few weeks, How wonderful to see you all again, keep well. Will be anxious to hear about all your adventures. Love you, Grammy

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  2. […] saw her getting ready and said that she wanted to wear bilas too! So I got out the child-size purpur (yarn skirt) that Annie had worn and the feather headband, necklaces and bracelets with […]

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  3. […] 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 […]

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