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Fr Vendelin goes for Eye Treatment, meets old friends from PNG

posted Apr 12, 2011, 6:21 PM by John Lavu   [ updated Jun 15, 2011, 8:33 PM ]
On 28th March 2011, I traveled with Fr Vendelin Naila MSC, to Brisbane where he was referred to undergo eye treatment at the City Eye Centre. His first appointment for consultation with the opthalmologist, Professor Lawrence Lee was on Wednesday 30th March. Following that first meeting, other appointments were made for further
checks and treatment on Fr Vendelin's eyes.

I have since returned to Port Moresby on April 09th, while Father has stayed on for the remaining treatments on his eyes before he returns on the 19th. While in Brisbane, we stayed with Fr Gerard McCormick and Fr Albert Chan, both MSCs, at the St Thomas Parish, 31 Perth Street, Camp Hill. Fr Gerard is the Parish Priest and Fr Albert is the Chaplain for the Chinese Community of Brisbane. As always, that wonderful charism and spirit of MSC was our delightful experience, living with the two confreres. No house-cleaner, no cook however, we had to do our own laundary and cook our own food. Just as well, we were no small boys to worry about all that. We just managed fine.     

Interestingly, Professor Lawrence Lee's grandfather lived in Lae, Morobe Province, during and after the Second World War, before moving down south and eventually settling in Brisbane. The doctor himself told us this when we went in for Father's fist appointment/consultation. Photographs of Fr Vendelin's eyes had to be taken, followed by a couple of eye injections, then to be followed by laser treatment.

Although we were away from home, we felt very much like in PNG. Fr Albert Chan MSC, of Chinese origin, was born in Rabaul always talked about our Chinese friends from PNG who are now settled in Brisbane. He took us to one of their prayer gatherings (Monday 04th April) at 06:30 pm. We met Chinese couples who had lived in Kavieng, Rabaul, Kimbe and Port Moresby. We prayed the Mary's Way of the Cross led by Fr Albert himself and sang three hymns. At the end of the prayer, he gave us the Blessing and then we had a very lovely meal which included a couple of 'Mumus' prepared by the members.

Two blocks down from the presbytery live Iubu and husband Steve Kelly. Iubu, from Barakau village outside Port Moresby was born and grew up as a United Church member. She has been converted and is now Catholic since marrying Steven Kelly from Tasmania. Iubu prepared us some PNG kaikai of tapiok (cassava), kaukau (sweet potato) with some ibica (greens), banana, chicken and fish. We felt very much at home. Steve and Iubu told us that some of the PNG Youth from Tapini Parish that went to Sydney for the World Youth Day in 2006 spent two nights at the Kellys' home before returning to Port Moresby. They were very happy to help the youths, most of whom were first-time travelers abroad during the Sydney World Youth Day.

We were also welcomed by Johnetta and her family.  They live up north at Morayfield.Johnetta works in the Caboolture Hospital.  Johnetta is
the younger sister of Archbishop John Ribat MSC.

During a brief meeting with her, she took us to attend a small farewell gathering for one of two sisters of Late Herman Taman. The youngest, Mary, is married and lives in Brisbane. The gathering we were taken to was for Odillia, her sister who spent some time with them and was returning to PNG on Sunday 03rd April.

Amidst what might have been a worrying and stressful time due to the lack of sufficient visibility in sight, whilst awaiting his eye treatment, Fr Vendelin was treated to a very warm and welcoming feeling with all these happenings. These also gave him confidence and strength as a person, whilst the two confreres Gerard and Albert continu ed to provide that support, accompanying him in prayer together with the Catholic Community of St Thomas Parish, Camp Hill.
I know that you were all praying for Fr Vendelin so that his treatment would be successful. His progress has been very good so far. Thank you all for your prayers.MAy you

all be blessed by Jesus' compassionate love this Easter!