Honiara (Fides Service) - 14 September, 2003 – feast of the Exaltation of the Cross - was a day of joy, celebration and feasting for the parishioners of Holy Cross Cathedral, Honiara – in fact for the entire church – as they thanked God for the cathedral that has stood for the past 25th years. The corner stone was laid in 1976 and the cathedral was completed in 1978 and blessed by Bishop Stuyvenberg – thus replacing the former cathedral, one that was built after the bombing of the Cathedral at Visale during World War II.
Hard work and joint efforts of several persons over the past few weeks and at the initiative of the Holy Cross Cathedral executive committee – the cathedral received a fresh coat of paint.
Fr. Onesimo Reinunu ordained the previous day, 13 September, 2003, celebrated his First Mass on the occasion. Concelebrating with him was Archbishop Adrian Smith sm, Archbishop of Honiara, 18 priests and a deacon.
Present for the occasion was H.E. Allan Kemakeza, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Archbishop Ellison Pogo, Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia and Mr. and Mrs. William Morrell, Commissioner of Police together with several hundred people many of them non Catholics.
Archbishop Adrian Smith in his message for the occasion stated, “The site of the Holy Cross Cathedral is one that demands reverence.” He recalled the moments of sorrow, especially in the recent ethnic tension that displaced many people, and reminded them that Holy Cross was their home. He said “As we strive to rebuild ourselves and our country - may the Cross constantly call us to prayer, reconciliation and celebration”-. The Archbishop was referring to the social and ethnic unrest which brought the presence of an Australian led peace multi-national keeping force.
In the second half of the 17th century Spanish Jesuits evangelised the islands of the Pacific but often at the cost of their lives. Marists resumed missionary work in 1898. Today Solomon Islands has a population of 440,000 95% Christian, Catholics are about 90,000. PA (Fides Service 15/9/2003 EM lines 38 Words: 478)