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By Fr. Ambrose Pereira, SDB

Port Moresby, PNG, 25 April 2018 -- Bishop Francis Meli was consecrated Bishop of Vanimo on 25th April, 2018 at Vanimo Town Oval, Sandaun Province. The well prepared and beautiful liturgical celebration was attended by about 3000 faithful from different corners of the Diocese of Vanimo. Many from the Diocese of Rabaul and other parts of Papua New Guinea joined in the celebrations.

A visibly moved and emotional Bp Francis Meli thanked God, his parents who are no more, members of his family, especially his sister and brother who were present and the people he has been working with as a priest. He expressed his deep gratitude to Bp Bonivento Cesare PIME, for the the over 26 years of Episcopal ministry in the Diocese of Vanimo and for leaving the diocese in an excellent state. To his flock he said, “I do not know the people, situation and circumstances of the Diocese of Vanimo, yet basing myself on my motto, I commit my life and ministry as Bishop of Vanimo with Justice and Truth”.

In speaking about the ones who have been the inspiration in his life he said, “There are many people who were very instrumental to my life, for example, my parents, Bishops, Priests, religious and laity. However, I must say that the most inspiring person in my years prior to my elevation to the order of bishop was my current Archbishop of Rabaul, His Excellency Most Reverend Archbishop Francesco Panfilo SDB.”

He stated that Archbishop Francesco Panfilo SDB inspired him by his life, his simplicity, his humility, his life of prayer, his life of fighting for true justice, his outstanding skill of administration and his concern for the poor. Bp Meli also spoke of his faith experience and pointed outthe great devotion Archbishop Francesco Panifilo sdb has for our Our Blessed Mother. “He has dedicated his life to the devotion of Our Blessed Mother. He has never missed saying his daily rosary. This devotion was a strong point in my family life, in which my mother, my father, brothers and sisters lived and practiced in their life today and continue to pass it on to their children,” he said.

He also stated, “The mission dear to my heart all these years, was my Marriage Tribunal Apostolate. In this mission, I was able to feel the pain of broken and wounded faithful who have not much help to come back to the church and the sacraments. By helping them through church process, many have come to reconcile themselves with their former partner and have been able to receive the sacraments and come back to the church.”

Bp Francis Meli looks forward to know and care for the spiritual and social needs Shepherd of his flock of Vanimo.



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