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Townsville Catholics attend Mass celebrating Port Moresby archdiocese’s 50th

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Blessed day: Cardinal John Ribat with delegates from Townsville diocese who visited Papua New Guinea to help celebrate the golden anniversary of Port Moresby archdiocese.

DELEGATES from Townsville diocese visited Papua New Guinea in late November to help celebrate the golden anniversary of Port Moresby archdiocese.

During the Golden Jubilee Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, Cardinal John Ribat spoke to the more than 2000 gathered and shared many historical facts about the forming of what is now the Archdiocese of Port Moresby.

“The archdiocese was originally formed about 70 miles (112km) to the West of Port Moresby in what is now called Yule Island when the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Father Henry Verius and Brothers Nicola Marconi and Salvatore Gasbarra arrived in 1885,” he said.

“One of the activities in preparation for the celebration of our golden jubilee, we encouraged parishes to take a trip to Yule Island and visit our roots.”

Another ritual that was part of the celebrations was a pilgrimage of the Jubilee Chalice. St John Paul II presented this chalice to the archdiocese when he visited Port Moresby in 1984.

The delegation from Townsville diocese, Port Moresby’s sister diocese, were pleased to be part of the celebrations.

Diocesan chancellor Len Horner said it was great to be part of the celebrations.

Representative Fr Mick Peters gave a message to the archdiocese from Townsville.

“We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and as a sister diocese we bring greetings from all people of Townsville to all the people of Port Moresby and all churches, as we are one,” Fr Peters said.

“This weekend in all Townsville churches, we are all praying for the Archdiocese of Port Moresby and they are also going out to Cardinal John.”

The golden jubilee celebrations also doubled as celebrations for Papua New Guinea’s first cardinal.

Pope Francis has named the Archbishop of Port Moresby as the nation’s first locally-born cardinal and the first cardinal from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart earlier this year.

This added a special dimension to the celebrations, as the joy towards Cardinal Ribat was overwhelming with lines of people wanting to get up close and personal to their new cardinal.

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