Gratitude and Appreciation

Two people perform the Sevusevu (kava making) ceremony

By Salome Rabuli

The pandemic brought many changes in our lives, economically, socially and personally as well as in our communities and in our line of work. We were not able to travel to visit relatives and friends as authorities tried to minimize the spread of Covid throughout the country (Fiji).

Kava in a ceremonial bowl

Once the borders were open, some of the Columban former lay missionaries together with Columban Fr. Iowane Gukibau’s Mum, who was sick at that time, decided to visit the Columban Fathers, seminarians and lay missionaries. Communications were made, and the date was set up prior to the visit.

Early morning on March 8, we all gathered at the Columban lay mission house and traveled to the central house. We were met by a Columban priest in residence, who welcomed us warmly. As soon as we arrive a sevusevu1 ceremony was presented to them by Tevita Rabuli, the JPIC Coordinator in Fiji, and was accepted by Fr. Iowane. Lay missionary, Lanieta Tamatawale who was on home vacation was there also. 

It was a moment of gratitude and appreciation towards the Columban Society for the opportunity and mission experience that they have enabled us to have. Later that day, we also visited the Columban seminarians. In the evening, we had a Eucharistic celebration in the Columban Lay Missionary house which was presided by Columban Fr. John McEvoy. Other Columbans were also present during the Mass, including Frs. Frank Hoare, Felisiano Fatu, Teakare Betero, lay missionaries, seminarians and CCIM (Columban Companion in Mission) member Aunty Lilly Hoyt. The day was very memorable and enjoyable. We also had a memorial of the late Columban Fr. Charles Duster, who journeyed with most of the former lay missionaries as Coordinator of the CLM in the Region. Sharing of stories, food, dance and yaqona followed by a Eucharistic celebration. We ended the day gathered at Mrs. Gukibau’s house. 

We give thanks to God for this wonderful day!

Salome Rabuli is a former Fijian lay missionary who was sent to serve in the Philippines from 2005 – 2008.

1 Sevusevu is the most well-known customary ceremony celebrated in most parts of Fiji and it is respected and sacred and out mostly a solemn ceremony. It is the central component of all life-cycle rituals, social gatherings, healing ceremonies, and as well community meetings. (The Christological Context of Sevusevu by Wame Boselawa)

Also known as Kava or kava kava (Piper methysticum: Latin ‘pepper’ and Latinized Greek ‘intoxication’) is a crop of the Pacific Islands. The root of the plant is used to produce a drink with sedative, anesthetic, and euphoriant properties. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones. (Wikipedia)

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