Monthly Archives: September 2014

Visits to the IVE mission in Papua New Guinea and Australia

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on September 27, 2014
Australia, Papua New Guinea, Pastoral visits / Comments Off on Visits to the IVE mission in Papua New Guinea and Australia

By the grace of God, between last August 25 and September 17, I was able to visit our priests in Vanimo (Papua New Guinea) after a brief stay in the city of Sydney, in Australia.

Currently the Vanimo community comprises of three priests, Fr. Tomás Ravaioli, Fr. Maximiliano Navarro and Fr. Martín Prado. As you know, the priests are in charge of the parish of Baro, near the town of Vanimo, which includes several communities (Wutung, Yako, Waramo, Baro, etc.) and two elementary schools (Baro and Simola). This parish is adjacent to the coast and extends from the boundary of the parish of Lido (near the diocesan seminary and the city of Vanimo) to the border with Indonesia, covering a length of about 50 kilometers.

Primeras comuniones en Yako

The communities there are along the coast, in a truly stunning setting, with the sea in front all along the parish boundary; about 30 meters from the shore there is a road, behind which there is a very thick forest of tall trees. Not without reason, the Papuans call their country “the last paradise”. To illustrate, I relate just the following: on the day I arrived, from the room I was staying I could see four dolphins passing by very close to the shore; on another day, along with the other priests, we saw an eagle ascending to great heights and then quickly swooping down to the level of the treetops. I also met “Aussie”, the Wallaby (a small kangaroo) that Fr. Maximiliano has as a pet.

During my brief stay I was able to participate in two first Communion celebrations, and I concelebrated Mass in several communities and in the two schools. I had the joy to observe the high regard that the people have for our priests. Both children and adults, seniors and families, show an obvious affection for them. The Institute has been working for several years in the parish of Baro, and over the years the parish has been transformed to almost one big family. Many people, in fact, consider themselves part of our religious family. I have met Papuan young people and children who had names such as Augustine, Luján, Manuela, and other Spanish names which were chosen by the people as a sign of affection for our missionaries.

Another aspect that struck me is the appreciation and the gift that the people of Papua New Guinea have for music: all of them sing and they do so with an enthusiasm that is contagious. Their generosity is also remarkable.

In the city of Port Moresby, I was able to meet with the Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Michael W. Banach, and with the Bishop of Vanimo, His Excellency Cesare Bonivento, PIME.

I was also able to visit the Servants of the Lord in their two communities, who very kindly invited me to celebrate the Holy Mass for them on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

I have returned much edified by the testimony of the religious life of our priests, and also by their pastoral work. As we know from the chronicles that come to us from there, they face great challenges, but they also have many good projects that by the grace of God are being gradually implemented. Our priests show a great enthusiasm for the adventure of missionary work in this frontier of the Church. While there, I could not stop thinking about the attractiveness of this mission, which makes a demand absolutely of the whole of the missionary.

I thank our priests in Baro for their charity towards me during my visit, and I congratulate them for all the good done in this mission, which is so dear to our Institute.

Finally, I went to Australia on a visit aimed at exploring the possibility of establishing a foundation there, when God permits it, just as it was recommended in the General Chapter of 2007. On this subject I will write later in greater detail.

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Visits to Ecuador and Argentina

Posted by Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE on September 27, 2014
Argentina, Ecuador, Pastoral visits / Comments Off on Visits to Ecuador and Argentina

From June 30 until July 31, I had the grace to visit the provinces of Ecuador and Argentina.

  1. Ecuador

For quite some time I had had the intention of visiting the priests of the Institute in Ecuador, who had kindly invited me several times to their province. For various reasons, until recently, I had not been able to make this trip. Now, by the grace of God, I was able to be with them for nearly two weeks, visiting all of our communities.

I arrived in Guayaquil, where I could see the truly exponential growth of San Pío de Pietrelcina school, located in Guasmo, which now has 300 students, and has made huge improvements in its buildings. Moreover, the parish of San Luis Rey, also in Guasmo, is not only carrying on full-fledged work in the improvement of the church building, but also has a very active pastoral life, with various kinds of associations: groups of Bible study, university students, altar servers, etc.

In the parish of Zamora Huayco in the Diocese of Loja, I again found a large growth in both the rectory and in the pastoral life. I also visited our dear El Gualel mission, where also significant improvements to the parish church are being made.

con el obispo de Loja, Mons. Alfredo J. Espinoza Mateus, SDB

In addition to the visits, I had the great joy of knowing the novices -to two of whom I imposed the cassocks- and the minor seminarians of the Institute. And I met with all the priests in the province in the town of Malacatos near Loja, where the novitiate building is located.

I had the privilege of meeting with the archbishop of Guayaquil, His Excellency Antonio Arregui Yarza and the bishop of Loja, His Excellency Alfredo Espinoza J. Mateus, SDB. We also visited the bishop of Babahoyo, His Excellency Marcos Pérez Caicedo.

In Ecuador, there is also the presence of convents and apostolates of the sisters, who are working very well, whom I was able to visit as well.

Our priests are working superbly in this beloved province, with great enthusiasm and many projects. I perceived an excellent relation of charity in their priestly fraternity and a very good relationship with the bishops with whom we work, as well as with the people of our parishes.

  1. Argentina

By the grace of God, after visiting the priests in Ecuador, I was able to go to Argentina; there, among other things, I wanted to participate in the ordination of the then Deacon Tomás Bonello, at the hands of His Eminence Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who traveled to Argentina from the United States just for this event. The ceremony took place on July 26 in San Miguel Cathedral, Diocese of San Miguel (Buenos Aires).

In the city of San Rafael (Mendoza), I visited our seminary and some other houses: the Minor Seminary, the Monastery in Los Coroneles, the houses of charity of Saint Martin of Tours, San Juan Bosco and San Pío de Pietrelcina , the high school, and the parish of San Maximiliano Kolbe. It is very rewarding to see the growth of the work of the Institute in San Rafael.

Also there I visited the contemplative monastery of the sisters and the Santa Catalina juniorate.

On July 30, I visited the Apostolic Nuncio in Argentina, His Excellency Tscherrig Paul Emil, who was kind enough to meet me for about an hour at the Nunciature in Buenos Aires.

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