Bp Rozario Menezes SMM, was ordained Bishop of Lae at the solemn Eucharistic celebration held at the St Mary’s Primary School compound, Eriku, Lae.
The celebration commenced at St. Michael’s parish where traditional dancers from the parish of St. Finbar Parish, Mandok/Siassi Islands led the 21 bishops in their resplendent gold vestments, 55 priests, family members of Bp Rozario who traveled from India to be part of the celebration and invited guests to the altar.
Nearly 2,000 members of the congregation from the different parishes of the Lae Diocese gathered on the school grounds for the event. Guests from India, Indonesia, Italy, United States, the Philippines, Madagascar, Haiti, South Africa, Kiunga, Port Moresby and other places were present for the event.
His Eminence John Cardinal Ribat, MSC, DD, Archbishop of Port Moresby; His Grace Stephen Reichert, DD, Archbishop of Madang, His Excellency Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, DD, Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands and His Lordship Christian Blouin, CMM, DD, GCL, Bishop of Lae were Co-consecrators at the celebration. All joined in prayer for the new bishop.
In his homily, the Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, Christian Blouin, reminded the new bishop of his call to be merciful and reach out in service.
“Be an agent of mercy. Listen to the voice of the Lord and spend time with him every night, offering your pains and sufferings and every one of your priests, faithful, catechists and religious,” he instructed the new bishop.
“Your call to be the shepherd of this diocese is a call to love the poor, the marginalized, those abandoned and all strangers.”
He reminded the new bishop of his responsibilities: to teach, to sanctify and to govern the people of God.
“Be a pastor with the ‘smell of the sheep’, who is in the midst of your people, ready to walk with the flock and stay with the flock in good times and bad.”
The Examination of the candidate, invocation of the Holy Spirit and the anointing then followed. Cardinal Ribat anointed Bp Rozario with oil. He was then presented with the ring, the mitre and the crosier, signifying his total commitment to God and his responsibility to care for the sheep.
A thunderous applause rent the air as John Cardinal Ribat placed the mitre on the head of Bishop Rozario.
Prayers were said for the new bishop and the needs of the church and the people of the Diocese.
A unique moment at the end of the celebration was the handing over of the flame to the new bishop. Bp Christian joyfully handed over the light to Bp Rozario signifying the handing over of the light of Christ.
During that time, Police Commissioner Gari Baki and his wife were congratulated for the 38 years of married life while Ginson Saonu, Governor of Morobe, thanked the Catholic Church for the work it does for the people of Morobe.
In return, he has pledged K100,000 to the Catholic Church.
The superior general of the Missionaries of Mariannhill, Rev. Fr. Thalami Victor Mbuyisa CMM presented the new bishop with a crosier made out of Olive tree, pledging his commitment to remain and work together with the new bishop in the Diocese of Lae.
“We are happy to continue this partnership with the Bp Rozario and we are committed to stay to continue the mission in Lae. We thank God for Bp Christian Blouin CMM, for shepherding the flock for the past eleven years,” he said.
Under the meticulous direction of Fr Arnold Schmitt CMM, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Cathedral and a dedicated team of volunteers, the celebration was well prepared.