The 26 priests of the diocese of Wabag, in central Papua New Guinea, are very grateful to you for the 2,025 Mass Intentions that you have provided. Bishop Arnold Orowae appealed to us for help last year, since his diocese is very poor and his priests are forced to supplement their income by growing their own food in order to support themselves. At the same time they have to minister to vast parishes with numerous outstations in this remote and inaccessible mountain terrain. The long distances they have to travel include negotiating sometimes almost impassable tracks. Yet they still minister unfailingly to the 75,000 Catholic faithful of the diocese, visiting the sick, counseling and accompanying families, traveling to remote outstations to say Mass and administer the Sacraments, providing religious instruction and celebrating Holy Mass in the schools, organising retreats for children, young people, altar servers and catechists. Since the Year of Mercy, there has also been an increase in the number of people seeking the Sacrament of Confession, which of course takes up much of the priests‘ time. In many place there has also been an intensification in Eucharistic adoration. Feast days and holy days are celebrated with great festivity. For example each parish prepares for its own patronal feast with a novena, and during October, the month of the Rosary, there are processions in all the chapel communities. So it is that the priests are tirelessly on the go.
In this situation the Mass Intentions of our benefactors are an immense support. There is no question here of „paying“ for the Holy Mass, but there is a long tradition in the Church of asking priests to celebrate Mass for a particular intention – for example a deceased loved one – and in return giving a gift that is in no sense a „payment“ but rather a gesture of love and gratitude and material support on the part of the giver. Bishop Orowae writes to tell us that „All my priests are most grateful for the Mass Intentions they have received and gladly celebrate Holy Mass for the intentions of those who have given them.“ Your Mass stipends not only help to support the priests themselves but also enable them to provide for some of the needs of their parishes, for example by providing hosts and altar wine or helping to maintain and worthily furnish some of the chapels in the remoter communities.
A huge „Thank you“ to all who have helped them!