BOUGAINVILLE Catholic bishop Henk Kronenberg, who was awarded the title of Chief in the 2009 Independence Logohu Awards for service to the people of Bougainville and the Catholic church, has attributed this award to the hardworking laymen of Bougainville.
He told The National he was surprised when informed he was the only recipient of the highest award in this year’s Independence Day anniversary honours list.
Bishop Kronenberg said he was very grateful for this kind of recognition in Bougainville and gave credit to all committed lay people who were hardworking and heavily involved in the church over the years.
“For the past and all those who have worked hard and never got a medal and it has been given to me. At the moment, this is also for those missionaries, sisters, brothers, priests and others who were part of the job,” he said.
He said he was appreciative for the church in Bougainville saying it had a bright future.
Bishop Kronenberg is from Emschede in the Netherlands and will turn 75 on Sept 29.
He first came to Papua New Guinea in May 1965 where he worked in Bougainville until 1990.
From 1991 to 1995, he was appointed to the seminary at Bomana in Port Moresby.
He was in Bougainville at the beginning of the Bougainville crisis before he went to the seminary.
From 1995 to 1999, he was the secretary for the Bishop’s Conference in Port Moresby.
In 1999, he returned to Bougainville and was ordained the bishop of Bougainville.
Bishop Kronenberg said Bougainville was a beautiful place with good people but the crisis had caused a lot of damage financially and mentally to the people which he described as a pity.
He said nowadays there was too much violence, consumption of marijuana and homebrew and it was sad to see youths, who were products of the crisis, did not know the normal way of living before the crisis.