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Thursday, 23 December 2021 14:53

First Papuan Priest for Province of Philippines

On December 8, the Philippine Province of Blessed Titus Brandsma celebrated an historic milestone with the ordination of the first member of the province from Papua New Guinea. Paul Kaptain Pakao, O. Carm., was ordained at the Iwai mission of the parish of Goma in the Archdiocese of Rabaul. Witnessing the ceremony were the ordinandi’s family, along with the different clans from his native village. The ordaining bishop was Archbishop Joseph Rochus Tatamai, MSC, the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Rabaul.

In his homily, Archbishop Tatamai expressed his gratitude for the Carmelite presence in in Papua New Guinea, which began in the Diocese of Bereina some 13 years ago.

The morning was filled with traditional festivities, singing, dancing, and sharing of gifts, which included crops and livestock which were later prepared into a sumptuous meal shared by everyone in attendance.

During his remarks, the Philippine Prior Provincial thanked the family of the newly ordained for allowing their son, Paul, to join the Carmelites, thus offering him to be of service to the Order and to the Church. He also thanked all the villagers and other friends of the Carmelite missionaries who graced the event, most especially the archbishop who stayed throughout the colorful celebration.

Fr. Paul Kaptain’s ordination marks the first ordination of the Philippine Carmelite foundation in Papua New Guinea. Another “Paul” from Papua New Guinea, Paul Sireh, was ordained priest but is a member of the Australian Province. 

Other young men from Papua New Guinea have answered the call of their Carmelite vocation. One student is currently undergoing his second year of theological studies in the Philippines. Three aspirants are preparing to arrive in the Philippines to begin their own formation.

Indeed, the interest and perseverance of these young men bear witness to the Filipino missionary friars’ positive contributions to the church in Papua New Guinea and the powerful impact they have made on the faithful, particularly on those who have been called to a life in Carmel -- echoing the lines of a familiar song: "Into the land of Carmel, I brought you to gather loads of charming fruits.”

Congratulations to Fr. Paul and the Philippine Province and to the Church in Papua New Guinea on this milestone!

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