Saint Francis Parish in the Diocese of Central Melanesia (DOCM) celebrated a joyous occasion this morning as they commemorated the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, and witnessed the ordination of Deacon Rockson Rata into the priesthood. The ceremony took place yesterday morning at the parish church, west Honiara where parishioners gathered to offer prayers and support for the newly ordained priest.
The proceedings began with a sermon filled with Inspiring Insights, reflections, and self-examination shared by the Dean of Bishop Patteson Theological College Kohimarama Reverend David Tiva.
In his sermon, Reverend Tiva emphasized the importance of imitating and living the example of Christ. He drew inspiration from the Gospel of Matthew (10:1-17), where Jesus sends His disciples to proclaim the kingdom of heaven and instructs them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons.
Reverend Tiva also urged Deacon Rockson Rata, the newly ordained priest, to fully dedicate himself to serving others as a true follower of Christ. He encouraged Deacon Rata to draw inspiration from the life of their patron saint, Saint Francis of Assisi, who left behind his wealth and embraced a life of poverty and humility in order to serve others.
“Saint Francis left behind all his riches and chose to live a life devoted to Christ,” Reverend Tiva said. “Similarly, I made this statement to soon to be ordained Deacon to follow that example, as by doing so, you will become a guiding light for others.”
Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the Most Rev. Leonard Dawea ordained Deacon Rata supported by the Assistant Bishop of the diocese the Rt Rev. Othnielson Gamutu, and other brother clergymen who attended the service.
The congregation also joined in praying for Deacon Rata’s successful ministry and offered their heartfelt congratulations on his ordination. The parishioners expressed their hopes that he would continue to reflect the love and compassion of Christ in his service to the parish and the wider community.
Moved by the support and encouragement, the newly ordained priest, Reverend Rockson Rata originally from Anuta and Tikopia in Temotu province, expressed his gratitude and appreciation to Archbishop Leonard, Bishop Gamutu, and the Rector of Saint Francis Parish Rev. Edmond Dolaiano and his executive for their trust and confidence in him to be made a priest.
Rev. Rata in his short remarks after the ordination service also thanked Rev. Tiva for his inspiring message as he takes on the responsibility of a priest.
“I am deeply humbled by the faith and trust bestowed upon me,” Deacon Rata said. “I promise to emulate the life of Christ, as shown to us by Saint Francis, and strive to bring His love and mercy to all those I serve.”
The day’s ceremony ended with speeches, feasting, presentations of gifts to the newly ordained priest, and cultural entertainment.