I now acknowledge our students graduating today. This is a very special day for each one of you, for your families, your friends and for all of us who have been part of your life and, in particular, have been part of your academic progress to this point.
This year it is a great pleasure for me to witness one of our Anglican priest-brothers graduating: Br Oswald Dumbari, Provincial Minister, Order of St Francis, graduating with the Diploma in Religious Studies. Congratulations to you Br Oswald.
To all our graduating students, may the diplomas and degrees you receive today be a reminder of your preparedness to contribute to both the life of the Church and the wider community in the coming years.
Some events that I want to highlight this year are:
Fr Franco Zocca SVD delivered the Annual Singkai Lecture on July 4, “How to Stop Sorcery Related Violence in PNG”. The lecture was appreciated by all who attended, evidenced by the lively discussion that followed.
Fr Giorgio Licini PIME conducted a successful symposium on Social Communication May 1-2 “Radio and the New Evangelization”
Sr Mary Claude Gadd presented a most informative workshop, “Understanding Child Protection and Building a Child Safe PNG” July 15.
Some other matters I want to mention:
Death of Fr Theo Aerts MSC and Fr Ziggy Cruczek CSMA
On 3 September CTI community offered a requiem Mass for both Frs Theo Aerts MSC and Ziggy Cruczek CSMA. Fr Theo made an outstanding contribution as a missionary to PNG in many fields. This included lecturing at Holy Spirit Seminary from the nineteen seventies to the early 1990s. Fr Theo passed away in Belgium after a long illness. Fr Ziggy had been lecturing at CTI since 2010. Indeed he had lectured at CTI in term 1 of this year and was due to lecture in term 3 but, after a short illness, lukemea, he passed away on 1st August while travelling home to Poland at Doha in the Persian Gulf.
Sadly two of our relatively very recent former students have died this year: Fr Jerry Inao, of Bereina Diocese and Fr Augustine Kaire, Archdiocese of Rabaul. Fr Augustine was at CTI for just one year, 2004, as a Salesian.
Farewelling Staff and Rectors
This year we farewell Fr Luciano Odorico who has lectured at CTI for the past 13 years, Fr Fredy Jehadin, on the staff since 2010, and Mr Gideon Gioyvadulu who began lecturing in 2005. Fr Michael Igo will not be lecturing here next year. Also, Fr Manny Lapaz CM, now parish priest of Bomana Parish, will not be available for lecturing next year. Fr Gerard Savian MSC, rector for the past year of De Boismenu College, leaves for further studies and Fr Joe Quentaip, rector of Franciscan College, completes his three years as rector. I want to thank each one of our departing faculty members and rectors, for their contribution to CTI.
Farewelling the Marist Community
As most of us know, the Marists are leaving CTI at the end of the year. They have been part, first, of Holy Spirit Seminary, and then, of Catholic Theological Institute, since 1969, so it is a sad occasion to farewell Fr Justin Ratsi, the present rector, Fr Sione Hamala and the Marist students of 2014. We have present with us, Fr Ben McKenna, provincial of the Marist Oceania Province, to mark the occasion.
Over the years they have been with us The Marists have provided many lecturers and deans of studies, and have contributed to the cultural richness of CTI, with members of their community coming from PNG, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Wallis and Futuna Islands and New Caledonia. We know the decision of Fr McKenna and his council is grounded in the need to consolidate initial formation in one house, and we wish them well in their future formation endeavors.
Of course, the Marists leaving Marist College does not mean they will not have a presence in Port Moresby, and I hope CTI will continue to benefit from the Marist presence, in whatever shape it may take in the coming years. May I now, on behalf of CTI, thank the Marists through you Fr McKenna and Fr Ratsi, for your congregation’s contribution to HSS and CTI. Please convey our thanks to your confreres, especially those who have been associated with Marist College.
I would like to also thank the following for their contributions to CTI this year: Abp Ribat and the Governing Council of CTI, the Rectors Board, the Faculty Board, the Academic Dean, Fr Zenon Szablowinski, Deacon Benjamin Bosili, outgoing SRC President, and the rest of this year’s SRC executive. I would like to thank the ancillary staff for its contribution to the daily life of CTI. And a big ‘thank you’ to all the students of 2014 for your contribution to the life of CTI.
At this point I would like also to thank Fr George Ryfa SVD, chair of the Rectors Board, for his contribution to the CTI community this year. Fr George is not here this morning, for, as most of us know, he had a mild heart attack in September and is presently in Poland, progressing well I hear, and hoping to return to CTI next year. Fr Zenon, would you pass on to Fr George our thanks and best wishes.
This is my last graduation celebration with you, as after seven years, I finish as President. Thank you everyone for your support over those years. I want to thank at this point, Fr Kevin Saunders, my provincial, present with us this morning and my fellow Dominicans at CTI: Fr Martin Wallace, rector of Dominican College, and all the members of the college.
I now wish everyone a fruitful end of year break and a peaceful Christmas and New Year. Thank you very much for your attention this morning.
Fr David Willis OP, President