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franciscan - January 1996

© The Society of Saint Francis, 1995

Celebrating Francis - focus on SSF in Papua New Guinea

Along the road that runs out of Popondetta, towards the shores of Oro Bay, in Papua New Guinea, is a bush track. Had you been here, you might have seen, over several days, men and women, young and old, making their way along it. Pots on their heads, bilums slung over their shoulders, or gigantic-sized plastic bags or sacks of rice being carried aloft on many heads. You would have followed them down the track past the homes of the Melanesian Brotherhood and between the cocoa trees and the oil palm plantation, to find a traditional arch of welcome made out of palm fronds intertwined with flowers and coloured leaves, and a little further on a sign over the pathway proclaiming: ORO, ORO, ORO - thrice welcome!

You would know that you had then arrived at the Franciscan brothers celebrating the feast of the Stigmata of St Francis. Along with hundreds of others, the community at St Mary of the Angels Friary would welcome you, the Archbishop and village children, all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Banners depicting St Francis and St Clare were being carried, led by Sing Sing groups and followed by yet more children.
It all began at dawn with the Angelus and it will end with entertainments, dancing, dramas and eating up the food that everyone brought to share - it won’t keep in this climate! A festival, well and truly kept.

Rosemary Bent, New Zealand Companion


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Copyright © 1998-2010 Society of Saint Francis, European Province

CSF European Province First Order Sisters: Registered Charity Number 286615
SSF European Province First Order Brothers: Registered Charity Number 236464
SSF Central Fund (for supporting SSF worldwide): Registered Charity Number 280238