• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018 16:58

Retired Archbishop keeps busy 'helping out' in PNG

Archbishop William Kurtz SVD 450At 83  years of age, and recently given the all-clear by Sydney specialists after treatment for Leukaemia, Archbishop William Kurtz SVD has headed back to Papua New Guinea to continue his ministry of providing formation for catechists and “helping out” wherever he can.

Archbishop Kurtz, who retired as the Archbishop of Madang in 2010, says he could have returned home to Poland when he retired at 76, but after more than 50 years in PNG, he’d come to love the place and the people, and he wasn’t sure he could cope with the European winters.

“So, I asked the new Archbishop if he would allow me to continue staying there. I wanted to stay with the people and to be useful,” he says.

“Also, I could see, and it had been my own experience as bishop, that there was a big problem with a lack of priests, so I felt that I could be useful in that regard, doing supply work for Masses and that kind of thing.

“Thankfully, the Bishop happily agreed to leave me there. It’s important for me to be useful.”

Apart from keeping busy celebrating Masses around Madang when he is needed, especially in one particular parish, Archbishop Kurtz continues to teach in a local catechist school, which he had set up during his time as bishop.

“I enjoy it very much,” he says. “We have about 25 people graduating every year and that gives me great satisfaction.”

The retired Archbishop also provides a ministry of presence and of listening for the priests.

“I like being around for the priests, just for them to come and say hello and I can listen to them because I have more time,” he says.

“There’s such a shortage of priests and it can be tough for those out on the stations. It can be tough to be alone out there.

”I also just enjoy meeting the priests and the lay people who work in the diocesan offices and saying hello to them. Just being there.”

A recent highlight for Archbishop Kurtz was a return to the highlands in Simbu Province  to be part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the parish and church he established as a young priest, when he first arrived in PNG.

It was, he recalls, a “most primitive area” when he first arrived. 

“It was stone-age like. It was tough, with tribal fights and the like, but they were nice people,” he says.

“I barely spoke Pidgin, but I was then given the task of learning the local language as well. And they were long walks, six-hour walks to the outstations, up into the mountains, crossing rivers with no bridges, to be with the people.”

A visit from the Bishop to celebrate confirmations ended with the young Fr William being appointed Parish Priest, with a hut as his local church.

He was there for 13 years, and during that time, he and the local people built three churches in the parish area and started a school and a health clinic.

“I really loved the people, the place, the bringing peace there, the healing of tribal fights,” he says.

Returning back there for the 50th anniversary was a somewhat easier trip than when he first arrived.

“They were very kind and they flew me up in a helicopter,” he says.

“It was beautiful. There were crowds of people waiting when we landed on a little patch of land. Everyone tried to hug me and then we had a long procession to the main station.

“The pigs had been killed for the feast and I was to say Mass. It was all very nice, except for the rain. Oh, it rained and rained.”

Archbishop Kurtz says he was surprised to find that the church and other buildings remained much as he had left them.

“They stood there the way I put them up!” he says.

“And the people were overjoyed. It was wonderful. It was like coming back to my family.”

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