Tetere, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 9 June 2021 -- Christ the King Parish, Tetere, has hosted its 3rd "Papas gathering" with the theme, Papas formed, Holy and sent forth for the mission following the theme for this year's faith formation set out by the diocese of Honiara. On 5 and 6 June almost sixty men from the Salesian parish came together in the Catholic Christian community of Sali. On arrival the Papas were welcomed by the Christian community with a spectacular cultural dance. The welcome program lasted for an hour and after registration and dinner the faith formation was given to the Papas (Dads).
First speaker, Mr John Manangelea, spoke on the theme of the Christian Family formed by God. He emphasised God's plan in the creation of family and how we need to respect God's creation and plan. We need to respect our spouses and consider them as our companions, they are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He told them to make our families a domestic church and every Papa in the family is a priest in the domestic church.
Mr George, the second speaker, spoke about the role of Papas in family life. As Christians how we need to practice patience with spouses, how to establish real family relationships, the importance of prayer in family, and that God is inviting us to transform our lives.
During the program the hosting community put on some entertainment dances to keep our dads hilarious and active.
On the second day, Parish priest Fr. Robinson celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi. In his homily he spoke about deep faith in the real presence of Jesus and Jesus' greatest gift of divine love for each one of us.
After the Mass, In the third talk, Fr Robinson spoke about the sacrament of marriage. He extracted the main points from the encyclical letter of Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia. He elaborated on the theme of the Spirituality of Marriage and the Family.
Marriage and family life is a true and valid way to God. Spouses belong entirely to each other – yet belong even more to the Lord! The family is the first “hospital” and the beginning of mission. He told them about the effects of the sacrament of Matrimony in Christian life and the Sacrament of Marriage in the Bible. He concluded the meeting saying these formation opportunities are helping our lay people to form very good Christian families, and holy people.
The youth and children entertained the Dads with gospel songs, dances. There was a festive atmosphere in the community. Indeed it was the feast of Corpus Christi. The Salesian mission is striking roots in the communities.
The Papas were in red uniform to welcome us. According to Sam one of the Papas from Suaghi village, 'It is a very good example of Evangelisation and re empowering Catholic communities'.
Mr. Samson from Sali commented that "it is a challenge given to us to take Christ in our lives. I am old but when I dance and welcome you to my community, I really feel young among your midst. I do this to encourage other Papas in the parish. One of the Papas, Mr Francis Sanny from Turanana village commented: "true love is found in families and we could see that in this community".
Mr. John Manangelea commented: "We, the fathers of families, are ordinary people who are formed and made holy to be sent for service in families and communities. Jesus worked his first miracle in ordinary ceremonial jars. Jesus uses ordinary people to evangelise our Christian communities. We each one of us can produce our best wine when Jesus performs this miracle in our life. We have come together to begin a new mission. Jesus is our light and he will light up our parish and families. Let us build our domestic church playing our role as a Father in the family."
Papas coordinator Mr James Persini said:"Let us surrender to Jesus and defeat the powers of Satan. Let us go and continue the work of the priest, prophet and king in our domestic church.
The Head Catechist, Mr Sam Toba, urged:"Let us be fishers of men. Jesus is sending us as His messengers of his gospel. Like Ezekiel vision let us give breath to the valley of dry bones and strengthen our church as lay missionaries. Today Jesus has recreated us for this work. Today is the beginning and we are no more sleeping giant.
At the end of the day, everyone felt a sense of happiness and joy in coming together and refreshing the mind and soul with these formation programs for lay people.