11 January 2018...God's time and chronological time met as the FMA Institute in the SPR province founded a new community in the Diocese of Gizo, Solomon Islands. This morning the SDB at Henderson came to celebrate the Eucharist with the two communities in our chapel and offered prayers for the new FMA foundation. In the afternoon all FMA went to the domestic airport and Sesilia, Claudia and Bernadette farewelled Anna, Regina, Joan and I together with Joan's mother and other family members. It was a heartfelt parting. On arrival at the Gizo airport Bishop Luciano Capelli, some Italian volunteers, adults and children from the parish welcomed the four FMA in true Solomon Island tradition! A taxi awaited...a 'water taxi' named 'St. Peter' ferried all to the mainland. (The Gizo airport comprises one whole small island and therefore everyone leaves the airport by boat!). Once ashore in Gizo proper, after only a 10 minute ferry ride, all disembarked and walked to the diocesan compound which is very near the shore. The Sisters were welcomed into their new house, the second floor of a building called 'the whitehouse'! After settling a few things (however, there are many, many boxes to unpack in the coming days) Anna, Regina, Joan and I went to the cathedral in the same diocesan compound and thanked God for this day which encompassed thousands of days of dreaming 11 January 2018 into reality. Mary, Seat of Wisdom and Cause of our Joy, was invoked as companion on the journey at the end of the prayer. Around 8pm all joined Bishop Luciano and the Italian volunteers for tea where the bishop welcomed all, thrilled to thank God for the permanent arrival of the FMA in the diocese of Gizo after so many years of asking and waiting and waiting and waiting! Anna, Regina and Joan have truly felt the presence of all in the province in one way or another. This new venture belongs to us all as we continue to 'be mission' wherever we find ourselves!
The official welcome of the new FMA community will take place on Sunday, 14 January at the 9am Eucharist celebration presided by Bishop Luciano Capelli.