Last Thursday between 8:30 and 9:30am people arrived for the opening of the Mary Mzzarello Development Centre (MMDC) in the Laura Vicuna Hostel-Henderson.
Sr. Sesilia Sala was the MC for the day and at 9:30am she introduced Sr. Sialei Paupuaga, the FMA community leader, who gave the welcoming address and extended a warm welcome to Bishop Adrian Smith, the archbishop of the diocese of the Archdiocese of Honiara, the auxiliary bishop John Doanenoel sm, the Catholic Education Authority Secretary, Mr. Cypriano Nuake, the FMA provincial, Sr. Edna Mary Mac Donald, the FMA Provincial councillor Sr. Rochelle Lamb, the first group of women already enrolled in the Centre, family members and friends.
Sr. Sialei emphasised that while this centre is inaugurated to offer women further skills in their human development she hoped that it would be a place where friendships are found, their faith is strengthened and all bond together in love and hope.
The Eucharist followed presided over by Bishop Adrian Thomas Smith sm and concelebrants being Bishop John Doanenoel sm, Fr. Joseph Thanh sdb and Fr. Ambrose Pereira sdb.
The Gospel was brought in solemn procession and proclaimed by Bishop John. In his homily Bishop Adrian focused on four aspects which he stressed can be applied to anyone seeking God throughout life.
The first aspect was REPENTANCE, the need to gradually rid oneself of what is blocking her/him from living a good life. Secondly, to seek the LIGHT, to be enlightened by the word, in our case, the Word of God in Jesus; thirdly to seek union with God in prayer and with and through each other and lastly to go out in MISSION and live the Word. To summarise all of the above the bishop drew on one saying of Maria Mazzarello, patron of the new development centre: “Let every stitch be an act of love of God”. In this phrase, he asserted, one can find a program of life, to do everything, to be there for others, to reach out in need for the love of God.
The prayers of the faithful were creatively presented. After each petition which focused on the many ways the MMDC would foster creative learning and a positive education environment, a candle was lit.
After the Eucharist concluded Bishop Adrian blessed the Centre while those assembled sang a hymn to Maria Mazzarello composed by Sr. Rochelle Lamb fma who had come especially to the Solomon Islands for the celebration.
This was followed by refreshments prepared by members of the MMDC staff – Sr. Bernadette Wauki, Filippa Riimanu and Melissa Rapeka. Everyone enjoyed the friendly atmosphere that all created.
At the conclusion of the celebration Sr. Edna Mary was invited by Sr. Sesilia to thank all for making this celebration a memorable one.
She shared that Maria would be rejoicing to see the opening of this Centre, a centre for women to develop their gifts and talents and a centre where women could continue to learn to be active citizens and good Christians in society and the Church today.
She left all with a phrase repeated often by Maria Mazzarello to her students and Sisters: Let every stitch, be an act of love of God.
The whole celebration concluded with a Marian hymn entrusting the MMDC to Mary, mother, teacher and guide.
By FMA Sisters