Honiara (Fides Service) - After years of challenge and hard work the Catholic Community at Noro, Gizo diocese Western Province, Solomon Islands, proudly witnessed the fruit of their efforts as they dedicated their new church building on 6 February, 2005 at which over 2000 people were present.
‘We would never have thought that a beautiful church would be built on this rock’, said Bishop Bernard O’Grady OP of Gizo as he addressed the congregation and thanked Bishop Chris Cardone OP, now Bishop of Auki, who was the first priest assigned to Noro in 1992.
The new church, completed in 8 months, was built with local contributions in money and also material, timber, gravel, stones, food, transport, and professional services.
The blessing was an ecumenical event, various church and government leaders were among those present. The different Churches in the area cancelled regular Sunday morning service to participate in the Catholic church blessing. Parish groups animated well-prepared liturgy: the Gilbertese Canaan community led the procession; the builders handed over the keys to Bishop Bernard O’Grady who together with Bishop Chris Cardone cut the ribbon at the entrance of the church; the gospel procession led by the Areare community had a young lad holding the gospel and accompanied by four dancers; Catholic mothers prepared the altar while the Wagina Kiribati community led the offertory procession. Many of the groups present travelled the waves to join in praise and thanks to God for His abundant blessings.
Former first parish priest at Noro Bishop Chris Cardone delivered a very powerful homily. “We give thanks for what has happened in the early years, a sign of the Holy Spirit, we live in the present with enthusiasm and we look forward with hope to the future”. He recalled lively and joyous participation of the youth and the people in services and youth rallies, community activities and liturgy prepared with enthusiasm. “Arguments, hatred, jealously….. are the work of the devil, while peace is the way of Christ ”, he stated. “Noro”, he said, “with its different denominations, cultures and customs is a sign of hope for sharing the Good News with all”. Recalling the words of Pope John Paul II, the Bishop invited his former parish community to listen and act upon the Gospel message - to serve as “a light to the people and the nation”. PS (Fides Service 12/2/2005 words lines )