The Plains of Labasa over Wailevu river facing the inlands towards Nayaudigi and Dogoru.
These works of visitation, awareness and the purchase of 8 solar units for 8 communities and villages have been in the plan for JPIC for a few months since my last visit to Labasa on the joint Disaster Operation with Caritas Archdiocese of Fiji in December 2021.
Thanks to the Mission Office here in Suva and in consultation with the Holy Family parish priest Fr Carlo, this mission was a carried out successfully because we went out to 8 communities as a Team with the Commission Heads from the parish Pastoral Council.
Our Team consisted of the Family Commission, Evangelization Commission, Caritas Commission and JPIC. I was also fortunate that Fr Frank was able to join us and help with Men and Women of the Parish awareness sessions. It has been a learning and life-giving experiences and I hope we can build up from here to bring Justice and Peace in our lives, our communities and also with all of creation.
Communities that were visited.
Nayaudigi village. Full– many good questions and they requesting for further sessions.
Solar light being Tested for their community church. It was a happy surprise for them.
Koromakawa Village… slippery road, dark, cold, rainy night and yet we managed.
Request for further sessions when most of men will be back from cane harvesting duties.
Holy Family parish Women Session – Lively with sharing and feedback.
The women were very clear of what changes they are going to implement.
Their sharing was filled with passion and the will to bring changes in their communities.
Holy Family parish Men session. Well attended with about 40 men.
There was some suggestions and questions and the request for a full day session.
Dogotuki Trip -Up North -One of the challenges apart from the fuel price.
Vitina village with the church on the hill.
There were only about 12- 15 people were in the village when we arrived because they were two deaths of relatives but the discussions after the awareness was robust and have also requested for revisit for the sake of those who were not present and youths.
The gift of the solar pack was indeed much appreciated as their solar lights in their community hall has broken down. The renewal of the Season of Creation has come early for them in the words of their Vakavuvuli (Catechist) who is in this picture in bula shirt.
A great advantage is that I can speak in the dialect and we dialogue on key issues directly like deforestation, extraction, land and sea destruction, loss of Identity, Culture and Respect.
Vugalei- Rauriko. Villages by the river. Ecological awareness and protection important.
Awareness with the new solar being used. Special place - needing special attention.
Lagi – Udu point. Far from the parish yet strong in Faith. Eager for more awareness.
Solar pack given for Community use which is user and environmentally friendly.
Dogoru/ Nasaqa. – Cane fields- Awareness held at the farm where the men are working.
Very interesting discussions on land, stewardship and social issues.
Vunivia. – This is a parish center and Mass station that caters for Dogotuki district and where the solar pack is needed for community and church gatherings. Even though we did not do a presentation here, the presentation of the solar pack is in solidarity with mission work at this station.
What went Well?
- This was a coordinated approach with the parish, Mission office and JPIC.
- Logistic support and billeting by the parish.
- Able to share the awareness in own dialect which was more relevant and effective.
- Relate to the people, land and very familiar with the context.
- Able to visit all the communities that were selected.
- Was joined by 3 other commission heads to maximize pastoral reach and impact.
- Was well received and welcomed throughout the parish.
- JPIC promotion and awareness – Refreshing to our parishners.
- Most communities are requesting for a full workshop (day or two) so that this topic can be discussed in more details.
- Solar Pack given to all visited communities is an efficient, relevant, practical and powerful way of supporting our Theology of the Season of Creation and Solidarity with our communities.
Challenges and Rooms for improvement.
- Improve coordination and timing with JPIC office, parish priest and Community/Commission leaders. (Rural)
- Little time for group discussion.
- Geographical challenges
- The topic on Election in regards to Catholic Social Teachings needs more attention and time as it is complex. Will definitely need to follow up on this.
- Attendance – More Youths needed or have a separate workshop for them.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting.
This needs to be done to assess effectiveness and sustainability of JPIC mission work on a regulated time period. That is why the JPIC committee in each parish is needed so we can have more coordinated approach for activities, programs to achieve desired objectives.
There is a lot more to discover and share with each other as we try to proclaim the Kingdom of God in our different ministries. The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation office is ready to work with all our different communities but it has to be done in consultation, collaboration and Team work to foster the Spirit of Synodality.
I thank Rev Fr Carlos for his great support and his Commission Heads from the Parish Pastoral Council whom we teamed up together to visit the Holy Family parish. Thank you also to the Mission Office in Suva for facilitating the financial and administration resources in order to carry out this work. To all the communities and friends of the Holy family parish for the warm reception and hospitality. To God for giving us the gift of life and faith to carry on His Mission.
Vinaka Vakalevu – Tevita Naikasowalu – JPIC Coordinator - Fiji- Oceanian Region.