PRIME Minister Rick Houenipwela has congratulated the Most Reverend Bishop Elect Peter Houhou describing him as a ‘true son of Solomon Islands’.
Bishop Houhou is the first native Solomon Islander to be appointed as Bishop of Auki Diocese and the first to hold this post in the history of the Catholic Church in Solomon Islands.
Speaking during the consecration of the Bishop in Auki, Malaita province, Prime Minister Hou congratulated Reverend Houhou on behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands.
“It is with great joy that I accepted the invitation to be present at this august occasion of the installation and consecration of the first indigenous Solomon Islands Catholic Bishop.
“As Prime Minister it gives me great sense of pride to be here to witness this momentous and historical celebration. It is another milestone achievement in the 450 years history of the Catholic Church in Solomon Islands.”
The Prime Minister said the historical event is no doubt a celebration of a fundamental achievement of the Catholic faith in Solomon Islands and to Solomon Islands as a country.
“I say this because we are witnessing our very own son being recognised by the universal church through the working of the Holy Spirit, to take up his cross and follow the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. We praise God for this wonderful gift to the Christian family here in Solomon Islands,” he said.
The Prime Minister added that Solomon Islands is so blessed, and fortunate to be a free and fair society when it comes to our religious beliefs and practices.
“You are chosen to serve the people of God in this part of the country. Malaita as we all know is the most populated of our provinces. This brings with it both opportunities and challenges.
“I am confident with your able and astute leadership, the Church here in Auki and Malaita as a whole, and with God’s guidance, you be able to face these challenges with confidence,” the Prime Minister said when congratulating the new Bishop.
Prime Minister Hou also encouraged the newly elected Bishop to work closely with the national government and its agencies, to find opportunities that the Church and the Government would be able to work collaboratively in the service to the people.
Thousands of people from around Malaita, Guadalcanal and Honiara came to witness the historical event.
Most Reverend Houhou when making his speech, pledged to work faithfully to serve the Church and the people.
He has also acknowledged the Prime Minister and Madame Rachel for travelling all the way from Honiara to witness the occasion.
“Thank you for gracing this occasion. It signifies the humbleness from you as our leader to be here today,” he said.
Also accompanying the Prime Minister is the Minister for Fisheries and MP for West Are’Are John Maneniaru and officials from the Prime Minister’s Office.