Pentecost Sunday 20/5/2018 – Opening Mass of the Synod Year – Reflection
By Sr Kalala Taufa SM
In an address before the launching of the Year of Synod - Archbishop Peter Loy Chong said, “I am convinced that the Catholic Church in Fiji needs to go beyond just attending Sunday Mass and praying”.
He envisioned a Church that reaches out to both rich and poor alike ....to the marginalized who live at the periphery of the society....so to embrace their joys, their struggles, as well as their needs......
When consecrated Archbishop of Suva in 2013 he made (TO BE CHURCH IN THE WORLD) his motto.
His dream for such a Church would empower people to be agents of positive change and development. But he knew he needed to work with the faithful to make his dream come through.
He realised that the best way to achieve this was to call a Synod of the Archdiocese – which would be made up of priests, religious and members of the faithful, who would meet, discuss and plan how they can assist him the Archbishop......so that the voice of the people could be heard and their needs could be addressed.
In 2017 the convocation for the Synod was announced and preparations for the launching began.....A logo was designed...a motto was formulated ....a song was composed... crosses were carried from Parish to Parish in the three Regions.
On the eve of Pentecost 19th May 2018 saw three crosses from the different Regions of the Archdiocese arrive at Sacred Heart College, received by the Youth of the Archdiocese who at the request of the Archbishop had come together for an all-night rally and vigil, to sing and praise God till the wee hours of Sunday morning. Pentecost Sunday was scheduled for the launching of the Synod Year 2018 - 2019. The Church that His Grace dreamed of gathered in huge numbers at Sacred Heart College for a procession with the three Crosses to ANZ Stadium. Queen Elizabeth Road was blocked so that the procession could take place. The youth lead the way singing hymns, praising God along the way. They entered a Stadium when the Pavilion was crowded to capacity with 6/7 thousand people and combined choir of about 200 strong.
The Liturgy was organised so that each ethnic group was represented -.the Chinese Drums issued in the beginning of the Mass - the Indo Fijians did the Arti or welcoming ceremony to the Archbishop on his arrival with the priests at the foot of the Altar – the readings and the prayers of the faithful were in different languages.- the Rabian Community took up the offertory with their well-known and familiar traditional dance – the choir was angelic and excelled in singing hymns in different languages - no one felt left out - all present were moved by the Spirit of this Pentecost celebration.
The event was a great sign and Witness to our Faith as Catholics, but also in support of the Synod Theme "CONNECTING IN JESUS – CONNECTING IN NEIGHBOUR” Yes Your Grace – We are one with you – Yes we will make your dream come true.
As the priests moved out to give Communion the sky turned red as if to signify a Second Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit came down on all of us present giving us - COURAGE and HOPE for a better Catholic Church in Fiji. Indeed it was a great feeling to be part of this Celebration. Thank you Archbishop Peter Loy Chong for being a great dreamer.