Recently I went for a visit to Ba Parish, Fiji. An I Taukei friend who works for FSC invited me to accompany his family for the weekend to a house by the sea at Cuvu. I was glad to accept.
This Sunday morning I celebrated Mass with the family. Four of the older children, two girls Aselika and Susana, and two younger boys Api and Semi, sat in front. I decided to have a dialogue homily with them. “Tell me this,” I asked Aselika who was about 13 years old, “Is God a man or a woman?” Both she and Susana were startled by a question they had never heard before. With a look of confusion they both shook their heads.
I turned to the Api and Semi, aged about 9 and 7 years and asked the same question. They both answered confidently and without any trace of a doubt, “God is a man.” Patriarchy it seems starts young.
Columban Fr. Frank Hoare lives and works in Fiji.