MOUNT HAGEN - Fr Dr Clement Papa is the youngest son of Pius Pii - popularly known as Kopi Kund Pii - a pioneer PNG Catholic missionary.
In 1947, Pius Pii, among the first students of pioneer American missionary Fr William Ross, upon completion of his training at Rebiamul, Mount Hagen, was sent to Anglimp-South Wahgi to establish the Kuli Parish.
Kund Pii was among the first 28 Hagen people to be baptised by Fr Ross at Rebiamul in 1938.
Fr Clement followed the footsteps of his father to work for the church. He served as a priest in Ambuluah and was the rector of the Good Shepherd Seminary at Fatima, near Banz, in North Wahgi before undertaking postgraduate studies at Divinity University in Victoria, Australia.
Dr Papa comes from a devout Catholic and scholarly family.
His elder brother, the late Anton, was a high school teacher in West New Britain for 50 years until his death last year. His second eldest brother is Dr Thomas Webster, former director of the National Research Institute, and also a former school teacher.
The third son is Dr Paulus Ripa, a medical doctor with a master’s degree in medicine and who taught at UPNG before joining the Mount Hagen Health Authority. The fourth brother is Joe Palimi, a former UPNG lecturer in accounting and recently UPNG Bursar, who has a master’s degree in accounting. He is currently in Buka working for DFAT as a financial advisor.
The fifth son is Jeffrey Jonah Pup, the only village-based sibling. Jeffrey has co-authored a book on the history of the KomKui people with Fr Pat Howley and has worked with me on numerous election observation studies.
Now we come to Fr Clement, the sixth and youngest son of the remarkable Pii family.
Three brothers, Webster, Ripa and Palimi, have taught at UPNG, while Anton and Fr Clement have also been teachers, making the Piis the most successful educationist family in the country.
This family has two PhDs and two Masters degrees - an incredible story that is still being written.
The sons owe their success to the strict Catholic upbringing by Kund Pii.
They are all humble gentlemen, easy to get along with, pleasant in their behaviour and extremely intelligent.
The people of Western Highlands and Papua New Guinea owe a debt of gratitude to Pius Pii and the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen for producing such wonderful educators for the development of this country.
God blesses those who toil for Him. In the Pii family, we can see the evidence of that testament.
My family and I would like to join the rest of the country in congratulating Fr Dr Clement Papa for his remarkable accomplishment in obtaining his PhD.
This is the highest honour of academic achievement. It is a lonely road. It takes a big chunk out of your life. It makes you grow grey hair - and lose it fast.
So, well done, my friend, Dr Papa.