By Falefa Elia
Suva, Fiji, 16 May 2023 -- The parishioners of St John Bosco Parish (Suva, FiJi) gathered on a wet Friday morning (12 May 2023) for the blessing of the foundation of its first parish church. Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Fiji led the prayer and blessing service in humble gratitude to God for bringing our newly founded parish to this important stage of its development.
The Archbishop shared his reflections that as we lay the foundation of the church the biblical text from I Peter 2:4-10 reminds us that Jesus is the foundation of this church, he is the living stone and we are all called to be living stones of God’s presence and love among all his people.
The first to lay the stones for the church’s foundation was the Archbishop. Then Fr, James Kyaw Hoe (Rector) place the first profession medal of Fr. Mikaele Leilua (the first parish priest who died in 2021), and medals of Mary Help of Christians were placed in the foundation because every Salesian work is “the work of the Madonna… which started with the Ave Maria” (Don Bosco). Then the parishioners from the oldest to the youngest also poured foundation stones for the first Salesian parish church in Fiji.
The blessing service of the foundation of the church was followed by the traditional kava ceremony and presentation of the tabua (customary whale’s tooth) to the Archbishop. It was a beautiful way to celebrate this historic moment of the Salesian presence in Fiji and the Pacific.
Our gratitude also to Fr. Taisali Leuluai (Parish Priest) for enabling the church building project to this important stage. He and Mr. Patrick Veu (the Project manager) worked very hard through many challenges to make what was once a dream a reality.
Whatever the cost in terms of human energy and resources, in the end, we humbly bow before our blessed Mother and acknowledge that “This is indeed your work, our dearly loved Madonna!”