SOLOMON Islands Catholic Church yesterday celebrated the Episcopal Consecration and installation of its first-ever native priest as Bishop at the St Augustine Cathedral at Faasitoro in the Auki Diocese, Malaita province.
The consecration was officiated by the Pope’s representative the Apostolic Nuncio of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG), His Excellency Archbishop Mathew Kurian Vayalunkal, assisted by Archbishop Christopher Cardone OP, Archbishop Douglas Young of the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen -PNG, and Archbishop Emeritus Adrian Thomas Smith SM, and diocesan and religious priests from the Archdiocese of Honiara, Diocese of Gizo and Auki Diocese.
In Vayalunkal’s homily, he welcomed the newly consecrated Bishop and assured him of the many challenges, joy and blessings ahead and encouraged his Lordship to trust totally in God.
“This is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. It is the day of great joy for the Diocese of Auki and the Catholic Church of Solomon Islands. It is a great blessing to have a new native Bishop for our Diocese and I assure you that the Holy Father is spiritually joining us today in this special occasion.
“I would like to welcome you this morning as a new native church leader to lead your Christian people and work in collaboration in the development of the Catholic Church in Solomon Islands. As a Bishop you are called to lead the flock and put your entire live in the hands of God.
“A Bishop must be someone who must bring people back to the hope of finding the truth.
“This is the challenge of the Bishop in the Catholic Church and that is the mandate of every man who are called to be a successor of the apostles.
“The mother church entrusts you with three important responsibilities which are to teach, sanctify and to love the people of God. Let me invite you to try to be the apostle, and always be someone who live with his sheep in the good times and bad times.”
Reverend Peter Houhou is part Ulawa of Makira Province, Marau on Guadalcanal and Are’are in Malaita province. He was born on October 10, 1966 at Porokokore village in Marau sound, Makina parish. His father is late Luke Iawai and his mother is late Salome Sautarei’a of West Are’are, Malaita province.
He attended primary school in 1974 to 1979 and commenced his formation at Nazareth apostolic centre in 1985 to 1990 before prolonging his vocation to the Holy Spirit seminary Bomana in Papua New Guinea (PNG) from 1991 to 1998.
He was ordained as priest at Makina parish on July 3, 1999 and was first assigned as a parish priest at Ruavatu Parish from 1999 to 2000.
He extended his priesthood role to Makina Parish for almost six years from 2000 to 2006 and later was appointed to become the Parish Priest of Visale Parish from 2006 to 2015.
He was appointed as a Vicar General and Administrator of the Archdiocese of Honiara from 2015 to 2018.
Attending the event were the Prime minister of Solomon Islands Rick Houenipwela and Lady Hou with his government delegation, Premier of Malaita Province Peter Ramohia and his wife, the Minister of Fisheries, John Meneniaru and his wife, and many other distinguished guests.
BY CAMILLUS KOLE