Society Leader Fr Tim Mulroy and CLM Leadership Team Vida Hequilan's Fiji Visit - Fr John McEvoy
Visitation to Columban Region of Oceania by Fr Tim Mulroy, Society Leader, and Vida Hequilan, Columban Lay Missionary Leadership Team (HK).
The two arrived in Fiji on Friday 12th May. This was a historical weekend in Fiji. The country celebrated for the 1st time the coming of the Indo Fijians to Fiji in 1879, 144 years ago through the indentured labour system. A public holiday was declared to recall and celebrate the suffering, hardships these 'Girmit' labourers from India endured during the early years.
On Saturday 13th Fr Tim and Vida were able to attend the Diaconate Ordination of 4 young men at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, where one of the new Deacons was a cousin of Fr Felisiano Fatu, Vice Director of Oceania.
On Sunday May 14th Mother’s Day, and the 36th Anniversary of the 1st Military Coup in Fiji, the visitors were afforded traditional multicultural welcoming ceremonies in St Pius X Parish Raiwaqa reflecting the ethnic mix of the Parish, where Fr Paul Tierney is Parish Priest.
On their arrival, an Indo Fijian Family performed the Arti ceremony with lit Diyas in a tray of fresh flowers in front of the guests (in circular fashion 3 times), followed by (mala) or the garlanding of the guest with a lei of flowers.
The beating of Chinese drums issued the beginning of the Mass at 9.00am. Fr Felisiano was the main celebrant and homilist at the concelebrated Mass with Frs Tim Mulroy, Paul Tierney, Vincent Ratnam, and John McEvoy. The parish choir was superb as usual. The Banaban Community from Rabi danced the offertory gifts to the altar. After communion Fr Tim introduced himself and told his missionary story since ordination. He expressed appreciation for the welcome he and Vida were receiving. Vida in turn told her LM story.
The Fijian traditional ceremonies of welcome were accorded to the visitors in the Parish Hall. The mixing and the offering of yaqona to the guests took place. Then the guests were garlanded again by the mothers of the parish. They also offered the visitors hand woven fans with their names ‘Tim’ and ‘Vida’ woven into the (Iri) respective fans. The Mother’s Day Cake was huge and was on standby to be cut.
No such event would be complete without a feast, provided by parishioners and members of CCIM (Columban Companions in Mission). No one was shy on the occasion and a wonderful, animated discussion took place between members of the CCIM and Fr Tim and Vida.
Fr Tim will visit every Columban member here in Fiji, priests, students, lay missionaries, and co workers during the week.
He will spend next weekend in Labasa before moving on to New Zealand Monday 22nd May and will complete his visitation to Oceania by visiting the Columbans in Australia.