Don Bosco is a gift to the whole Catholic Church
TARO, capital of CHOISEUL PROVINCE, Solomon Islands (PGS), March 24, 2020 -- The diocese of Gizo celebrates this year its diamond Jubilee. St John Bosco Parish is the 8th to be established at the Gizo Diocese at the provincial capital of the Choiseul province. 5 of the 8th parishes of the diocese are located at Choiseul province: Moli, Taro, Sirovanga, VoruVoru, Waghina. The other three parishes (Noro, Gizo and Nila) are located at the Western proving of which Gizo is the capital. These two provinces’ population is 105.000 people (the population density is 18 persons per square Kilometer) and belong mostly to the United church denomination. The diocese also serves Isabel Province (26,000 people of Anglican denomination). In all the diocese has 8 parishes serving ‘only’ 16,000 people. The parishes are well afar one from the other separated by long distances of open sea. (the distance from Gizo ranges from 55 to 200 Kms).
To serve these 8 parishes we count on 16 priests: 4 diocesans, 5 Dominicans, 3 Guanellians, 1 Incarnate Word, 1 missionary from Myanmar and 2 from the Bacolod Diocese. 2 Deacons are preparing for their priestly ordination. Three congregations of sisters FMA, OP, Visitation are helping us with the diocesan 15 schools and 35 Kindergardens. Isolation is a great issue but it could be a blessing during this time of Coronavirus. Communications are now fast growing from 2-way radio communication, twice a day on our church frequency to mobile phones all in 12 years.
The growth of the population is about 3% per year and the people live of the produce of their gardens and of what the forest gives. The church helps the Government in providing Health and educations services which are privileged places for proclaiming the good news. Groups of volunteers for 19 years helped us to put our structures back on their feet after the earthquake and tsunami of 2007.
While we enjoy the presence of the FMA’s presence at the St Peter’s Urban Training Center at Gizo, we still await the coming of the SDB, the animating nucleus of the Salesian family, to bring the Charism of Don Bosco in our school founded and named after Don Bosco (Nila, Shortland Islands) since the beginning of the diocese by the Dominican Order. The opening of Grade 12 this year at Nila would hopefully prepare better youth to make a final option for their vocation in life and enrich their life, their families, the communities and the Church. A small College for technical instructors is very much appreciated by the whole country. We came a long way after the tsunami and earth quake of 2007 in rebuilding lives, structures and communities… The rough copy ‘bulldozing’ is over, we now wait for the ‘grader’ to do the ‘fine copy’ and to put things in order.