Thousands Catholic adherents witnessed the colourful installation of their new Archbishop at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Honiara on Saturday.
The most Reverend Christopher Michael Cardone OP became the third archbishop of the Honiara Diocese.
He succeeded Archbishop Adrian Smith, who served the church for more than 50 years.
“Thank you everyone for your coming to this special occasion,” Archbishop Cardone said in his inaugural address.
“Your coming and the gifts given to me show how happy you are to work together with me as we will serve the Lord with gladness,” he added.
Local and oversea groups who came to witness the programme presented the new archbishop with special gifts and words of encouragement.
Archbishop Christopher Michael Cardone OP hailed from United States of America.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 20th in 1957.
According to his autobiography, he was the third born of the fourth child of Nunzi and the late Helen Cardone.
His older brother Thomas was a Marianist Priest.
His sisters Nancy and Donna were married and lived in Chicago and New York respectively.
Archbishop Cardone OP attended the parish Primary School St Raymond and of Penyfort from 1965 to 1972.
For secondary school, he attended the Marianist High School called Chaminade from 1972-1976.
For university, he attended the Dominican Friars: Providence College where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Humanities with concentration in History and Modern languages in 1980.
He then entered and received the Dominican Friars in August 1980 order of Preacher’s habit at St. Stephen’s priory in Dover MA, USA and then did his seminary studies in Washington DC at the Dominican House of studies where he received a Bachelor Degree in Scared Theology (S.T.B) and Masters in Divinity (M.Div.) in 1986.
He was ordained to the priesthood on May 30th 1986 and assigned to the Dominican Friars Novitiate and parish of St Gertrude in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He taught Scripture and music to the Dominican Novices and also did parish pastoral work.
But in 1988, he answered the call by the Australian Dominican Friars to spend three years as a Solomon Islands missionary teaching and doing pastoral work in Gizo Diocese in the Western Province and that actually took him from 1988 to 2001.
During that time he was cathedral and administrator, Vicar General, founding parish priest in Noro Catholic Community and parish priest and secondary school teacher in the most far western parish of Holy Rosary in Nila in the Shortland islands.
The original three years commitment got extended four times and on March 25th in 2001, he was appointed by the late and now canonized; St. John Paul II to be the Auxiliary Bishop of Gizo Diocese where he was Vicar for youth and Education.
In October 2004, the late and beloved New Zealand Marist Bishop Gerald Francis Loft, SM was asked to retire and the Holy Father transferred Bishop Chris to be Ordinary in Auki Diocese in Malaita.
Auki is one of the fastest growing dioceses in Oceania with one of the highest percentage of local priests.
But on June 22nd this year, Pop Francis transferred Bishop Chris to be the 3rd Archbishop of Honiara.
The Honiara Diocese covers Honiara town and the provinces of Guadalcanal, Makira, Temotu and Central.
Yesterday’s installation ceremony was very colorful that everyone who attended enjoyed it.
The programme was attended by the Governor General Sir Frank Kabui, government ministers, overseas dignitaries, and family and friends of Archbishop Christopher Michael Cardone.
By Leslie Sanga