05/05/1999 11:19


The Christian Brothers in PNG

The first community of Christian brothers came to Papua New Guinea in 1950. The first community consisted of Brothers consisted of Br Mathias McGrath (Leader), Br Ambrose Howard, Br Alexis Lambert and Br Salvian Parker. Upon arrival in Rabaul in March 1950 these brothers took responsibility to teach at St Mary¹s school at Vuvu, which was founded by Fr Dempsey in 1947. Of this original community of brothers, Br McGrath remains alive as the senior Brother in Brisbane in 2001. The school has remained as one of the most significant high schools in PNG and is still under the responsibility of the Christian Brothers.

Another pioneering brother was Br Barry Louisson, who arrived in the second group of brothers in 1952. Br Louisson has remained in PNG since his arrival and was the first Region Leader appointed when the Edmund Rice Region was appointed.

The foundations established by the Christian Brothers have been:
… 1950: St Mary¹s Vuvu (Rabaul ENBP): later became a high school and was transferred to the Vunakanau site in 1995 after the 1994 volcanic eruption destroyed the school;
… 1952: Bundralis (Manus Island): students transferred to Mongop in 1964;
… 1956: Kininigunan (Vunapope ENBP): closed in 1970
… 1957: St Paul¹s Teachers College Vuvu (Rabaul ENBP): transferred to Vunakanau in 1969;
… 1964: St Jude¹s High School Mongop (New Ireland): brothers withdrew in 1993 but remains under the supervision of the Christian Brothers;
… 1968: Fatima High School Banz (WHP): received a change in name to Fr Peter Secondary School School Fatima in 1996;
… 1969: St Paul¹s Teachers College Vunakanau (Rabaul ENBP): a new College was established at Vunakanau in 1969 after transferring the original St Paul¹s from Vuvu but was then amalgamated with the ladies¹ teachers college at Kabaleo in 1995 after the volcanic eruption in 1994;
… 1969: St Michael¹s Formation Centre Vuvu (Rabaul ENBP): a centre of formation for the brothers, including novitiate and postulancy;
… 1969: St Benedict¹s Teachers College Kaindi (Wewak ESP): co-educational teachers college operated in partnership with the Sisters of Mercy)
… 1972: St John¹s Goroka (EHP): a house of studies and Edmund Rice Region Centre at North Goroka;
… 1974: St Joseph¹s Tari (SHP): brothers withdrew from the school in 1983;
… 1977: Sacred Heart Community School Faniufa (Goroka EHP): brothers took over the school in 1977 and withdrew in 1982;
… 1978: St Peters Chanel Erima (Port Moresby NCD): community school and transit community ­ brothers are no longer teaching in the school;
… 1981: Ponini Agricultural Centre (Kimbe WNBP): Commenced as an agricultural centre for young school leaver drop-outs but has now changed focus to a technical high school; brothers withdrew in 1999 but remains under the supervision of the Christian Brothers;
… 1982: Mt Sion Centre for the Blind Goroka (EHP): established as a centre for the blind but has extended its charter to cater for all disabilities under the umbrella of Callan Services for Disabled Persons;
… 1991: Callan Services for Disabled Persons: co-ordinated from Wewak (ESP) but providing education training and medical services for the disabled in many centres around the country;
… 1991: Haus Sekan Vuvu (Rabaul (ENBP): a centre for spirituality workshops and community development;
… 1991: St Peter¹s Community School Boset (WP): Brothers took responsibility for the school to assist in development and then withdrew from the school in 1993;
… 1993: Valoka Health Centre (near Koskins WNBP): Callan Services Nurses In-service College for rural midwifery and obstetrics;
… 1994: St Mary¹s Community School Lugagon (NIP): Brothers took responsibility for the school to assist in development and then withdrew from the school in 1999;
… 1995: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Teachers College Kabaleo (Vunapope ENBP): was originally established by the OLSH Sisters but accepted amalgamation with St Paul¹s in 1995 after the 1994 volcanic eruption.

The Edmund Rice Region PNG was established in 1974 to administer the affairs of the brothers and to co-ordinate ministry. Prior to 1974 the decision making and administration was made in Sydney.

There are currently twenty eight (28) Christian Brothers in Papua New Guinea working in various ministries. Fourteen (14) of these brothers are Papuan New Guinean citizenship or origin.

Membership in the Congregation is open to confirmed Catholic males with a year 12 or post-secondary education who are interested in walking in brotherhood with Jesus Christ in serving His people in PNG.