By EHEYUC SESERU
IT has been a long and eventful journey so far for Bishop Rozario Menzes – from a small town in southern India to serving in the Lae diocese.
Last month, he celebrated his first anniversary as the bishop of the Lae diocese, marveling at the happy mood of the people.
“It (had been) a year of celebration. Everywhere I went, there has been singing, dancing and joy in the people. People are really excited.”
He was born in 1969 in the small town of Virajpet in the Coorg district of the South Indian state of Karnataka. He belongs to the Catholic diocese of Mysuru.
He arrived in PNG in May 2000 as an Indian Montfort missionary. He first served in the Daru-Kiunga diocese in Western in various roles.
He was the priest of St. Brigid’s parish in Kiunga, and at the same time, caretaker of the St. Paul’s parish in Nomad. He served in the Daru- Kiunga diocese for eight years.
“ Everywhere I went, there was singing, dancing and joy in the people. People were really excited.”
He also worked as a youth chaplain and project officer in Daru-Kiunga Diocese before going to Montreal in Canada for studies in Formative Psychology and Counselling. After returning, he started the formation programme for the Montfort Missionaries in PNG.
He had to move to the Port Moresby archdiocese and served as a parish priest of St. Martin De Porres Parish at Morata.
On Saturday, Dec 15, 2018, he was consecrated in Lae after his appointment by Pope Francis on Oct 10, 2018 as the third bishop of the diocese.
He has since travelled the length and breadth of Morobe, which is predominantly Lutheran.
Bishop Rozario feels he is being educated by the people themselves.
“I’m new to Morobe but I’ve been in PNG for 20 years. I’ve never worked in Lae diocese before.”
The diocese has 22 parishes and 19 sub-stations. But it has only 13 priests who share the workload for the parishes and stations.
In his first year, the diocese opened a new chancery and a Catholic FM studio. Bishop Rozario is a well-known counsellor and spends his time conducting courses around PNG, especially at the Xavier Institute.
He is looking forward to working with other churches and the Morobe government to assist the people.
“We will be talking to the provincial government to serve people in remote areas in health and education. May people are dying of curable illnesses.”
Bishop Rozario celebrated his first year in office in a mass on Sunday, Dec 15.
He thanked God for what he had achieved in his first year in Lae.
“Through many people and events, God has shown me that he is continuing to walk with me.
“It is He who gave me this responsibility to lead this diocese.
“He is walking with me, protecting and guiding me to look after the church which belongs to Him.”