PASTORAL VISIT OF BISHOP NATALE PAGANELLI, S.X. TO MONGO BENDUGU PARISH
Bishop Natale Paganelli, sx made a pastoral visit to Mongo Parish from 15th – 18th March 2018. Rather unusually, he spent more time remaining the main parish community in order to better understand the situation and better to guide and encourage the life of the parish. The main agenda of the visit was to have meetings with all groups of the parish, to visit some catholic schools and have meeting with teachers, and to administer the sacrament of confirmation. All the programs were carried out well, though in a simple way due to the general elections atmosphere which still persisted in the country.
The Bishop tried to meet as many parishioners, in the various groups (PPC, CMA, CWA, CYO, Choir, Altar Servers) and including personal meetings, too. Emphasizing the typical missionary parish, the Bishop encouraged us to continue doing formation on the faith for parishioners at all levels, so that the parish would become an agent of evangelisation in this area, not only for Mongo chiefdom, but also for other surrounding chiefdoms and villages. For the growth of the parish we were also encouraged to maintain and develop friendship with our brothers and sisters Muslim and other Christian denominations, to prepare young Catholic families for the sacrament of marriage, and to be generous in works of charity, especially for those who are sick and poor.
Up to now, the role of catholic schools as regards evangelisation is still very important. There are great opportunities and challenges in having many schools under Catholic Mission Agency. In this pastoral visit Bishop Natale visited 8 schools: RC Gberia Timbakor, RC. Kombili, RC Karifaia, RC Gbenikoro, RC Senekoro, RC Serekolia, St George RC Primary and Secondary School Mongo Bendugu. In dialogue with teachers, Bishop expressed his gratitude for their service. At the same time he patiently listened to the problems and difficulties, such as the compensation for community teachers, poor facilities in the schools, and especially the approval of schools and teachers, which would be addressed seriously with the government. Regarding the approval of schools and teachers, he promised to fight for them before the government. At the same time he reminded all the communities and stakeholders to take their responsibility, too. We were told not to wait everything from the government for the running of our schools, helping community teachers and doing maintenance of school facilities. At the end he encouraged all teachers to work hard for the children of this nation and be proud to be teachers.
The parish was also blessed by 37 newly confirmed boys and girls who came from four communities: Mongo Bendugu (11), Serekolia (7), Karawani (10) and Senekoro (9). When they were confirmed by the Bishop in the Parish Church, they were all really happy. Some of them said that it was their first experience to see Bishop and the Parish Church. During his homily Bishop challenged them to be Catholic forever because by receiving the sacrament of confirmation, they become fully mature Catholic members, with rights and obligations. It is really a joy to welcome them all and to see them keep their Christian commitment ever growing in their new small communities.
Thank you, Bishop, for being so close to us during the pastoral visit! Thank you for your patience, your advice and encouragement to Mongo Parish! In the beginning we were worried about the tight schedule you proposed for all the meetings. But at the end we were happy to see that you fulfilled the program without any problem. May your pastoral visit bear abundant fruits in our parish, now and for ever. Amen.