Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.
Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.
We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.
We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.
- Published: Wednesday, 20 March 2019 22:27
MSC MISSION EASTERN PAPUA, WORTH KNOWING.
Recently, Chris McPhee, MSC Provincial visited PNG confreres, not so many Australians there these days. PNG MSC province and confreres ministering there.
We noticed that this week, March 19th, saw the 80th anniversary of the death of Fr Hubert Tomlinson MSC – at the age of 32. His obituary noted that he was one of the earliest of the Eastern Papuan missionaries. After his ordination in 1933, he spent two years in Papua, on Basilaki – but contracted black water fever and almost died. Back in Australia, he recovered, a year as chaplain at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill, and a year at Douglas Park. Back to Eastern Papua, but not long after, he contracted cerebral malaria and died at the age of 32. He wrote many articles about PNG for the Annals.
We also Googled MSC in Eastern Papua. Here is the report for some background. Actually, it came from this site in 2007 on the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Mission.
An opportunity to pay tribute to the many MSC Brothers and priests, OLSH Sisters and Lay Missionaries who worked and work in Eastern Papua.
Although the photo comes from Yule Island - from where the missionaries set out for Eastern Papua.
On April 22nd 1932, Father Francis Lyons MSC, accompanied by a group pf lay missionaries from Yule Island: Camillo Loula and Basilia Obi, together with her husband, Solomon, and their two young children, and a young man, Edimondo, dropped anchor in a small bay on Sideia Island in Eastern Papua. Their quiet arrival marked the beginning of the Mission of the Australian MSC Province in what is today the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.
Frank Lyons and his parents - some years ago Archbishop Denis Hart told us that Fr Lyons was his mother's cousin.
The islands of Eastern Papua were at that time part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Yule Island (entrusted to the care of the French MSC Province) but had been rarely visited by Catholic Missionaries. Protestant Missions were already well established on some of the islands. The first attempt at the evangelization of New Guinea had, in fact, been made in Eastern Papua, on Woodlark Island. In 1852 Italian missionaries of the Society of Foreign Missions of Milan (PIME) started a mission there but after a few years were forced to withdraw. A few years later the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart were able to establish a permanent mission in Rabaul in 1882 and thus begin the work of the evangelization of the New Guinea islands. Soon after this another foundation was made at Yule Island in Papua. Although the Yule Island Mission was a work of the French Province, young Australian MSC were also working in the mission, especially in the administrative capital of Port Moresby.
Then in 1929, the Holy See entrusted the Mission of Eastern Papua to the Australian Province – its first foreign mission, although Australian MSC had been working among the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory for many years. In 1930 Father John Doyle MSC visited Samarai to investigate the possibilities for a new missionary foundation. It was decided to make the first foundation on the island of Sideia. Initially the new mission remained part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Yule Island, under Bishop Alain de Boismenu MSC.
The mission slowly spread to other islands. When the Japanese invaded Milne Bay in 1942 mission stations were already established on the islands of Basilaki and Samarai, and in the Trobriand Islands, as well as on the mainland at Ladava. OLSH Sisters had also joined the MSC. The war years witnessed the complete destruction of much of the mission. Though the war years brought great material destruction and many setbacks, the local people – many of them only school children - not only remained loyal to their faith but also displayed zeal and initiative in finding ways to preserve and even spread their faith (as an example: one boy had 33 baptisms to his credit!).
Bishop Des Moore MSC, in retirement at Kensington Monastery
In 1944 the first missionaries were able to return to Sideia and begin the re-construction of the mission. Because the mission consists of so many isolated islands, boats are essential and some of these were actually built on the missions themselves. In 1951 the mission was erected as a separate Prefecture Apostolic with Monsignor John Doyle MSC as the first Prefect Apostolic. In 1957 the mission was raised to the status of a Vicariate and Monsignor Doyle was ordained as the first bishop. In 1967, the Vicariate became the Diocese of Sideia. Two years later the first local priest was ordained: Father John Mathew Sinou MSC. In 1970 Bishop Desmond Moore MSC succeeded Bishop Doyle as the second bishop. Bishop Francesco Panfilo SDB is succeeded Bishop Moore and is now archbishop of Rabaul. The present Bishop is Rolando Santos CM, Bishop of Alotau. Fr Joe Ensing MSC is the community leader.