A place that used to be known for lawlessness is showing that has changed, continues to change.
From a decline in law and order problems over the years, today Yangoru District celebrated the ordination of one of its own, showing that good things are coming out of the district.
Newly ordained priest, Father Paul Kaji, is from Pachen village. Described as a humble and dedicated man, Fr Paul will now begin his priesthood at the Wirui Cathedral in Wewak.
The rain that started in the evening yesterday and continued today, managed to push back the start of the ordination mass but did not stop it.
The church service, or mass, began with a unique customary ritual, where customary leaders of the land on which St Thomas Yangoru Parish stands, handed over the land and their son to the Catholic church.
As is the norm, the Bishop of the Diocese, in this instance Bishop Josef Roszinski of the Wewak Diocese, officiated at the mass that saw the former Deacon Paul become Fr Paul in the presence of his family, clan and other fellow priests.
Fr Paul now joins over 400 other Papua New Guinean priests who are serving in Papua New Guinea.
Bp Josef Roszinski and Fr Victor Roche of the Catholic Bishops Conference, are proud to witness this occasion and admit it is a challenging time to become a priest. They express that there are not enough resources to support the work of priests as there used to be, and it is hard to Shepard a congregation who are distracted by things of this age.
Fr Paul will hopefully one day fill in one of the 19 parish vacancies that remain in the Wewak diocese, vacancies that are becoming hard to fill as the number of missionary priests have declined over the years.
For both Bp Josef and Fr Victor, it is a coming home of sorts. Bp Josef was a parish priest in the neighbouring Warabum parish, while Fr Roche was the parish priest here in the early Eighties when he baptised the now Fr Paul.
While East Sepik is predominantly Catholic, other churches are also established in the province, and it showed in Fr Paul’s family. While he and other family members are Catholic, others observe the Seventh Day Adventist and the Assemblies of God teachings. They were all present today to witness the occasion, with the family representative, local member and Trade and Industry Minister, Richard Maru, saying they are proud that one of their own has taken up the vocation of priesthood.