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ARCHDIOCESE OF SUVA
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NEWSLETTER MARCH 2018
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Archbishop Peter Chong March 2018
1. New Archdiocese Website: visit www.archdioceseofsuva.org
Diocesan Calendar: In the website we have a diocesan calendar. Please send your events to John Pickering (Communications) and he will post your events and avoid clashing with other events in the diocese.
2. Lenten Appeal for Tonga: During the Council of priests we decided that a second collection be taken up in all parishes on the 4th Sunday of Lent for TC Gita victims in Tonga.
Easter Music Festival for Tonga
The Archdiocese of Suva will sponsor an Easter Music Festival to raise funds for Tonga. The Youth Commission will organize the Festival. I will also be conducting a Facebook appeal. We invite Choirs, Youth Groups, Dance Groups, Bands, Sigi Drigi (String Bands), Bilo Levu etc. Please contact Fr. Rogasiano Raikivi (9828596) and Petero Sanele (9458601) to enter your group entertainment.
Vocations Sunday:
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is Vocations Sunday. I urge all parishes to conduct a vocation awareness program on this day.
3. Catholic Education Week and Catholic Education Sunday:
Due to some heavy commitments in the first term we had to move Catholic Education week to the second term, May 7-13. Catholic Education Sunday will be May 13. I ask that parishes creatively bring in the Catholic Education Week theme ‘Connected to Jesus' into the Liturgy. Centered in Christ is a key value in Catholic Education. We have used a contemporary internet language ‘connected to Jesus' to carry this theme.
4. Diocesan Synod Survey
The Archdiocese of Suva Synod will be launched in the FMF Gymnasium on Pentecost Sunday, May 20th, 2018 at 3.00pm The Consultative Phase of the Synod aims to allow the faithful to participate in the synod. We do this by conducting a diocesan survey. The survey asks people for their opinion and aspirations about the Church. As of February we have received only 997 survey forms (10% of the catholic population). I ask parish priests to encourage the faithful to participate in the survey. I recommend that each parish establish a synod team who will be responsible for the survey. The survey is a wonderful opportunity to listen to the people regarding the Church in Fiji. I am attaching the results of the survey as of February.
Synod Renewal Program
May 20th Launching Mass for the Synod 3pm, FMF Gymnasium October 5-7 West Youth Seminar
June 5-7 Clergy and Religious Seminar October 12-14 North Youth Seminar
July 6-9 Central Eastern Region Seminar December 7-9 Catechist Seminar
June 8-10 Parish Lay Leaders Seminar May 2019 Fiji Catholic Teachers Seminar
June 13-15 West Region Seminar April 2019 Formation of Synod members
August 10-12 Men's Seminar June 3-7, 2019 Synod Meeting
August 16-17 Women's (CWL) Seminar June 9, Pentecost Synod Closing Mass
September 28-30 Central Easter Youth Seminar  
5. Catholic School Principals and Head Teachers Annual Conference:
This year we are combining this conference with Fiji Catholic Teachers Association (FCTA) Seminar on April 25-27. This year's Conference and the FCTA seminar will focus on “The Vision of Catholic Education”. I believe that once we are clear of the vision of Catholic Education then we will have correct policies and practices.
6. Reaching Out to the Peripheries:
Kadavu, Lau and Rabi
We are grateful to the Vincentian Fathers who have taken on the mission in St. Michael's Parish, Kadavu. Fr. Iliesa Kaitu is the new pastor with Fr. Lario Nacola as assistant pastor.
Inspired by the Vincentian's missionary zeal, the Diocesan Clergy have committed Frs. Vio Drou and Ioane Vodosiro to the Lau Islands. They will be in the Lau Islands on every second month. We are grateful to Bishop Paul Mea of the diocese of Kiribati who has promised to send a Kiribati priest to Rabi.
7. Chrism Masses
Western Region: March 20th; North Region March 23rd. Central-Eastern March 27th
Blessing and Reception of Oils
The only oils that will be blessed during Chrism Mass are the Oil of the Sick, Oil of Catechumens, and Oil of Chrism. NO other oil will be blessed during Chrism Mass. Parish priests please catechize your parishioners the meaning of these oils. Parish priests can bless people's oils in the parish.
Dear brother priests I attach a ritual for the Reception of the Oils in your parish community.
8. Good Friday Liturgy
The main liturgical celebration on Good Friday is the Veneration of the Cross. In Fiji we have developed a tradition for having early morning ‘dramatized' Stations of the Cross. This often takes time and energy and can take our attention from the Veneration of the Cross. I ask we tone down the Stations of the Cross. 
9.The Adoration of the Holy Cross (Second Form)
Only one Cross should be offered for adoration. If, because of the large number of people, it is not possible for all to approach individually, the Priest, after some of the clergy and faithful have adored, takes the Cross and, standing in the middle before the altar, invites the people in a few words to adore the Holy Cross and afterwards holds the Cross elevated higher for a brief time, for the faithful to adore it in silence. (Roman Missal)
Priests: Please catechise and inform your parishioners beforehand if you are going to use the Second Form.
10. Catechist Training and Renewal Fees
We have updated the catechist training and renewal courses. We have already started using the new program for the renewal courses and I thank Frs. Beniamino Kalodau, George Ting, Sulio Turagakacivi, Rogasiano Raikivi, Frank Hoare, Jo Tuimavule who gave lectures in the various courses. Catechist Beni Waqaniyalo is the Course Coordinator and Minnie Seeto is Administrator. Sr. Salome is also a staff member.
Catechist Fees
We have also reviewed the Catechist fees and how we can provide assistance to rural parishes.
The new fees are:
Renewal Course (6weeks)
$12.50 meals x 40 days = $500.00 perperson
                                    = $1,000.00 couple
$50 Stationery & misc. = $50
Catechist Training Course (3months)
$12.50 meals 84 days = $1.050.00 per person
                                  = $2,100.00 couple
$100 Stationery & misc. = $100.00
The Council of Priests (COPAS) have resolved that the catechist's fees be paid by the parish and the village and NOT by the catechist. The catechist serves the parish and hence the parish should pay his fee.
COPAS also agreed that in village contexts, the community should work one day a week for the catechist's plantation.
Financial Assistance for Catechist Fees
If a rural parish sends more than one catechist for a program, the parish priest can apply for financial assistance to the Catechist Training Centre Administrator, Ms Minnie Seeto.
11. Confirmation Program
Last year (2017) we piloted our new Confirmation Program in 9 parishes. In January we conducted a training for Confirmation Program catechists. The new Confirmation Program is for two years. So all parishes should be beginning Year One this year, 2018. Parish priests please follow up with your confirmation catechists.
12. Parish Finance Reports  
On December 5-6, 2017 we ran a workshop for on Parish Financial Management. As a follow through we are asking that all parishes should be sending in Monthly Parish Finance Reports. If we find that a parish is not sending reports it means that you need help and our finance team will do a support visit. All parish cheques should have three signatories – with the pastor and any other to sign. I request your cooperation.
13. Parish Commissions:
The Vicar General and I are currently running workshops to help parishes set up parish commissions. By the end of 2018, all parishes should have established commissions. Commissions are a necessary part of parish life.
14. Marriages in Advent, Lent
It has been the Catholic tradition in the past not to celebrate marriages in Advent and Lent. According to the Roman Ritual – The Rite of Marriage revised by decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by authority of Pope Paul VI, marriages can be celebrated during Advent and Lent.
“When a marriage is celebrated during Advent or Lent or other days of penance, the parish priest should advise the couple to take into consideration the special nature of these times.” (Introduction: Rite of Marriage no.11)
The General Instructions of the Roman Missal lists days when the celebration of marriage is not permitted.
372. Ritual Masses are connected to the celebration of certain Sacraments or Sacramentals. They are prohibited on Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, on solemnities, on the days within the Octave of Easter, on the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls' Day), on Ash Wednesday, and during Holy Week, taking due account of the norms given in the ritual books or in the Masses themselves. (General Instructions of the Roman Missal)
Outdoor Marriages (Hotels)
I observe a trend today whereby couples request to celebrate their marriage outdoors or in a hotel. How do we respond to this?
Canon law states that the normal setting for a Catholic wedding is the parish church; however, it also makes clear that the local bishop can allow a wedding “to be celebrated in another suitable place” (1118).
Pope Francis I in ‘Amores Laetitia: Joy of Love, speaking on the complex types of marriages, states:
‘You meet people where they are; you accompany them.' Pope Francis calls for pastoral accompaniment and sensitivity.
The request for outdoor marriages or in hotels requires pastoral sensitivity. A blunt NO can be the cause of the couple leaving the Church. On the other hand, marriage preparation and celebration are good opportunities for evangelization. The couple should be firmly encouraged to participate in the marriage preparation. We piloted a very good Marriage Preparation Program last year. We will advertise the dates for the marriage preparations for 2019. Preparing a good marriage homily to the diverse people that normally attend weddings is another good opportunity for evangelization.
 
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