Archbishop Anthon Bal installed as 6th Archbishop of Madang
- Rosemary Yambune
Madang: The Archdiocese of Madang rejoiced as they celebrated the installation of the sixth Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Madang.
Archbishop Bal replaced Archbishop Stephen Joseph Reichert who served the province for eight years.
Over 2500 people were present at the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Madang on 31st October 2019 to join in the celebration of the Eucharistic in thanksgiving to God for the new Archbishop. His Excellency Most Rev. Anthon Bal formerly served the Diocese of Kundiawa, before the Vatican Embassy announced his appointment to the Archdiocese of Madang, in July this year.
The newly installed Archbishop began his homily in the Eucharistic mass by reminding the parishioners that everyone needs Christ for support and that they should live a Christ-like lifestyle. He further added that as their new archbishop, he needs the help and the communion of the parishioners. Speaking in tok pisin he said,“Me wantaim you I sios I stap life oltaim.”
Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, Emeritus Archbishop Stephen Joseph Reichert and Emeritus Archbishop William Joseph Kurtz were joined by ten other bishops and eighty-eight priests. Religious sisters and brothers and lay faithful from the different parishes and well-wishers were part of the celebration.
Among the VIPs present were Mr. Markus Kachau, Acting Provincial Administrator of Madang Province, Mr. Peter To Rot, recently retired Assistant Provincial Administrator of Madang Province, Mr. Patrick Silata, the Momase Region School Inspector and Mr. Joseph Ouyoumb, Regional Teachers Services Commissioner Momase Region.
Archbishop Reichert thanked the Lord and Our Blessed Mother for his eight years as Archbishop of Madang. Several had tears in their eyes as he appreciated and thanked his priests, religious, diocesan secretaries and laity for working together to build the faith of families and the Catholic people of Madang. He joyfully welcomed Archbishop Bal as the sixth Archbishop of Madang.
Archbishop Vayalunkal highlighted the relationship between Christ and his disciples (Jn 15:1-17) and stressed the need to be close to Jesus. “As you faithfully attend the pastoral needs of the local Church, may you be guided by the Virgin Mother, to show to all, the merciful face and goodness of her Son, Jesus Christ,” he said. He reminded the archbishop of the invitation of Pope Francis to become the ‘Sacrament of Closeness’ – Close to God in prayer, close to the people of God entrusted to him and close to his priests.
Several said that they look forward to working with Archbishop Anton Bal to continue the work of Archbishop Reichert. The celebration concluded with a feast organized by the Simbu and Madang parishioners.
The Parish choir at the Eucharistic celebration was coordinated by Mr.Tony Tapalla. Dancers in their local ‘bilas’ added to the solemnity of the event. The singsing group from Panutibun island led the procession at the start of the Eucharistic celebration. The bible procession was done by the Franciscan Friends and the offertory procession by the Chimbu delegates.
The entire celebration was coordinated by Fr Joseph Durero, svd. Assisting him was the Catholic Mama Group from the Cathedral headed by Bernadette Yena and Ruth Dedmai. Panutibun community and Simon and Angela Bilas and family for the Madang Traditional singsing group and Bogen decors. The decors were led by Mrs Vivian Buai.
Archbishop Anthon Bal received his episcopal consecration on 12th January 2009 and was appointed as the Bishop of Kundiawa. He is the vice president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and SI.