With peace they lived
Beware the Papuan magani jumping syndrome - it sucks

The beauty of the flowers for church is the beauty of Maria

Maria arranging her flowers in churchBOMAI D WITNE

MEMBERS of the Liklik Kristen Komuniti at Mary Help of Christian Parish-Kefamo come from many different provinces in PNG.

There are a lot of older people in their 40s and 50s from the Simbu Province who settled in the Gahuku and Mimanalo local level government areas a few decades ago.

A few are working class people who live and work in Goroka town and attend Sunday church service at Kefamo.

Each of the settlers has a story to tell of how they came to settle on the land they are occupying.

Last week, old John Gior told me he had problems with the son of a landowner who, under the influence of liquor, attempted to use force to remove him.

I found out from John that he made arrangement to settle on the land from the father of the drunkard but since then the man had passed away. The drunkard son did not accept any agreement between John and his late father.

There are similar land related issues facing people who came more than two decades ago, settled on customary land and are now being forced to leave by the children of the landowners.

In the absence of a binding legal document, the settlers are increasingly threatened by these children. They are asking for compensation for developing the land and the payments they have made over the years.

The children of the landowners refuse to accept such demands and have shifted the blame to their dead parents and relatives.

Many Kefamo parishioners who settled on customary land in Goroka face the ongoing threat of losing their homes.

However these problems have not deterred them from living their Catholic faith.

They find time to get together for prayers in their Liklik Kristen Komunitiand give to Sunday Eucharistic celebrations.

Most of them use the limited land for food crops. But Maria Philip told me she allocates a large portion of her backyard to planting flowers.

She has been trained to know how to plant and arrange flowers for important events - and the most important event is the flowers to decorate her church.

She brings a variety of flowers every week and nicely arranges them in buckets and places them at the altar.

Last weekend (picture) she brought flowers as usual and showed me and the children how to arrange them in the church.

Maria never runs out of smiles and also encourages other families to grow flowers for church. She commits her house for weekly prayer sessions for Saint Lazarus Liklik Kristen Komuniti.

Maria’s husband, Philip Mogia, works as a driver at the Papua New Guinea Medical Research Institute and is very supportive of his wife and Liklik Kristen Komuniti.

They have grown up children and a grandchild who they encourage to attend Sunday services.

At a time when PNG faces so many socio-economic, cultural and religious problems which affect people in different ways, Catholics need to step up in living their faith.

I can only compare Maria’s beauty with the beauty of the flowers she grows and brings to church each week. 


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Bomai D Witne

Peter, there are so many Marias on earth and the world would not be better without them.

Peter Pirape Anage

Love of God expressed in simple ways like what humble Maria does and of course with a beautiful smile is simplicity and humility expressed in the services of God and fellow men.

Keep on smiling and keep on pleasing God with the flowers for God has a bigger flower garden ready for you.

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