Recently two sisters, from the Australia Delegation, Sr Christine and Sr Immaculata were sent to Tonga to carry out Pastoral work for vocations. Tonga is a Polynesian Kingdom of more than 170 islands, many uninhabited. These islands in the Pacific ocean are endowed with many varieties of tropical fruits and beautiful vegetation and flora. The population of Tonga is around 110,00. It is a Christian nation with the major religious groups belonging to Protestant denominations, the Catholics make up around 12% of the population.
The sisters met up with several youth groups from diverse parishes and a couple of colleges. They were always warmly welcomed in all the parishes and schools that they visited. The sisters were delighted with the enthusiastic response of the young people who came in large numbers to the gatherings where the sisters gave a presentation on the life, charism and mission of the Sister Disciples. They also introduced the young people to the Founder, Mother Scholastica and the Pauline Family.
On Sunday, 28th February all the youth groups of the Archdiocese of Tonga gathered for a special Mass at the beautiful church of St John the Baptist in Pea, to inaugurate the beginning of the Year for Youth. The solemn Eucharistic Concelebration was presided by the Vicar General, Monsignor Finau. Each youth group, distinguished by their particular colorful uniforms, participated enthusiastically in the Liturgy and took turns in leading the different parts of the Mass and hymns. Their exquisite harmonious singing, accompanied by various musical instruments enriched the Liturgical celebration and made it a truly prayerful, lively and uplifting experience for all those present.
It was a joy and honor for the sisters to have a private meeting with Cardinal Mafi. The Cardinal gave the sisters a very warm welcome and expressed his pleasure that the youth of Tonga were given the opportunity to become acquainted with our congregation and the Pauline Family. On another occasion, the two sisters were invited to a special event where they had the privilege of meeting the Queen Mother of Tonga.
Towards the end of their visit, the sisters organized a special day of prayer and reflection for those young women who showed particular interest in our congregation. The day began with Lectio Divina,followed by lunch and personal encounters. During the hour of Eucharistic Adoration, there was the opportunity for everyone to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The youth were very happy and enriched by this experience.
We continue to pray and accompany those young women who are discerning their vocation. The Pastoral work for vocations in the friendly Island of Tonga certainly proved to be very positive and full of promise for the future.