The Holy Family at Kukum Parish had all the reasons to celebrate because Saturday Dr. James Ere’ai courageously and freely took another step towards priesthood in the Catholic Church.
More than a thousand people from all walks of live came to witness and accompany Dr. James in his journey as a deacon. He belongs to the diocese of Auki-Malaita.
The main celebrant was his Grace Archbishop Francesco Panfillo sdb, Archbishop of Rabaul PNG. His Grace was specially invited by Bishop Christopher Cardone OP, diocese of Auki, to be the main celebrant as he was a great helper and a special friend to James when he was a student in the school of medicine in PNG and did his practical as a medical student in Rabaul.
“Passion for Christ and passion for his people” were the words that were echoed in his Grace’ sermon on that day. He encouraged especially Dr. James as well as the congregation to make Christ a center of their lives by continuously reading of the scripture, meditate and understand it, preach it and practice it in their lives.
The most moving moment of the ceremony was when the family members of Dr. James presented him to the Church to be ordained as deacon.
The enculturation in the liturgy highlighted the moment of letting God. The cultural performance of offering of their family member to God was so deeply felt by all as a ritual of cleansing and be free to be totally for God’s service for the people.
Fr. Pius To’omae, parish priest of Kukum parish and Dr. James’ uncle had the liturgy under control his control. Fr. John Adai, was the Master of Ceremony during the Eucharistic Celebration.
The choir made up of different groups under the direction of Br. Gideon Harps, helped to make all parts of the ceremony so meaningful.
Deacon Dr. James Ere’ai was ordained by his Grace Archbishop Francesco Panfillo sdb, in the presence of Archbishop Adrian Smith sm, Archdiocese of Honiara, Bishop Christopher Cardone OP, Diocese of Auki, Bishop John Doaninoel sm, Auxiliary Bishop of Honiara and clergies both Catholics and other denominations.
The different religious congregations of sisters, priests and brothers were also present. So many people who came in contact with Dr. James in his various missions both medical and spiritual were flocked to Kukum Parish to witness such an occasion.
Archbishop Francesco Panfillo sdb, shared with the people one time when Dr. James came to see him. “Dr. James asked me if it is possible for a doctor to become a priest. I told him, of course. I, as a bishop can heal people spiritually but if you become a priest, you can hear both body and soul.”
Dr. James thanked all the people who were present especially his Grace Archbishop Francesco Panfillo sdb,for installing him in the order of deacons as well as the bishops of Honiara and Auki and his brother priests and deacon Nickson. When he came to thank his family he paused and remembered his late parents in a special way. He asked everyone to continue supporting him in prayers as he is taking up his journey towards priesthood.
The second part of the celebration was the sharing of gifts and food. The entertainments were provided by so many groups that Dr. James is involved in.
The Kukum parish was very hospitable and everyone was well looked after. The sun set with the voices of thanksgiving to God for such great celebration and a witness of faith.
By Sr. Sesilia Sala FMA