Mothers’ Union Provincial President, Pamela Abana, looks back at how Mary Sumner Day was commemorated across Melanesia.
Mary Sumner Day was celebrated in a number of ways across the Solomon Islands, with some events under tighter COVID restrictions than others.
In the capital Honiara because of COVID, gatherings were restricted so the Diocese of Central Melanesia organised parish events. At St Barnabas Cathedral Mary Sumner Day was celebrated along with the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 15th August with participation from the Girls’ Friendly Society and Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood celebrating together. The day began with prayer and Holy Communion followed by a brief history of Mary Sumner, followed by lunch and entertainment.
In the Diocese of Central Solomons, Gaeta district admitted four men as associates. In Vatilau district MU members dramatized the challenges they faced in the early days of the MU and shared their passion in how being a Mothers’ Union member helps them in their spiritual growth. Some testified that without the Mothers’ Union they wouldn’t have such a strong faith as they have now. While others shared the challenges they had faced as their husbands did not want them to join the organisation. One women told the gathering that her husband hides her clothes or puts her uniform in a bucket of water so she cannot attend MU Meetings. After these stories were shared, some of the men at Vatilau district realised how important the MU ministry was for their wives and family as a whole, and are now looking forward to supporting them better in the future.
All in all, the Mothers’ Union in Melanesia keeps the mission going, including home visits, prayers and teachings. We really thank God for protecting us up until now as we are still relatively COVID free! We also continue to pray for all Christian families and MU members out there whose lives are in danger during this COVID era.
Ethel from Vanuatu reports
Due to COVID restrictions, Mary Sumner Day, on 9th August was celebrated only in Parishes. In Sola Parish members commemorated Mary Sumner Day with home visitations to pray and bless the sick and those in need. In Sarakata Parish in Luganville, a message on the legacy of Mary Sumner was read to the congregation and after the service there was the sharing of cake and tea. In the two Vanuatu dioceses there have not been any cases of COVID yet, but the MU has been part of the COVID awareness team that distribute handwashing materials and demonstrations to Pentecost Island. The group was also involved in the response and relief activities following Tropical Cyclone Harold, particularly on gender-based violence and discrimination.
Mothers’ Union Provincial Office, Honiara