The National – Wednesday, February 9, 2011
BISHOP Stephen Reichart of Mendi diocese, who was recently promoted as the archbishop of Madang, was a faithful servant for the people of Southern Highlands.
He was the answer to the helpless voices of the disadvantaged in the nine districts where the government had neglected them for the past four decades.
He was a courageous and committed man who could fearlessly travel into fighting zones and initiate peace among warring tribes where no community leader or MPs dared to go.
Many leaders fled to Moresby or overseas when a major tribal fight broke out in Mendi town.
Business houses were destroyed and government services came to a halt but the bishop remained in the province through it all.
The fight, which claimed some 70 lives, came to an end when the bishop finally brokered a peace deal and brought the province back to normalcy.
People often urged the bishop to contest for the governor’s seat but he refused.
Bishop Reichart initiated many infrastructure developments and services like health, education, roads and other socio-economic development projects.
One of his most significant initiatives was to sponsor tertiary students struggling to meet all their fee requirements.
He relieved many parents during such crucial times and, by doing so, he has touched the hearts of all Southern Highlanders.
I cannot think of an appropriate word to describe Bishop Reichart’s noble work in Southern Highlands.
He was more than a priest or bishop.
I would say he was a champion of all trades.
I am happy to be a product of one of the schools he established in the province.
Thank you, Bishop Reichart.
May God reward you in heaven.
Michael Drake Kapu