A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Mission Snippets from Oceania


After 174 years, the Society of Mary mission in Rotuma ended on Sunday 26 July this year. Representing the Oceania Province, the Vicar-Provincial, Fr Milikiade Rayalu SM, handed over the key to Our Lady of Victory Church, Rotuma, to the Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Suva, Fr Sulio Turagakacivi, who represented the Archdiocese at the ceremony.

The Rotuma Marist mission was begun in 1846 by Fr Pierre Verne SM. A number of the Marist priests who followed him spent thirty to forty years on Rotuma, such as Fr Gustav Griffon SM, who was stationed there from 1913 until 1959. This year, Fr Emiliano Lasaqa SM was the last Marist parish priest.

Source: SM Oceania Newsletter

Apifo’ou College, Tonga

New classrooms were opened at the College on 29 July, two and a half years after Tropical Cyclone Gita destroyed the school in February 2018. The project to build the new classrooms was funded by the World Bank. The classrooms were opened by the Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, along with representatives of the government and the World Bank.

It is hoped that the second phase of re-building, the construction and renovation of ten classrooms, will be completed by the beginning of next year.

Fr Ekuasi Manu SM, in his vote of thanks, said the staff and students had waited patiently for two and a half years, bearing the hardships of learning and teaching inside tents. “Today they have reaped the harvest of being resilient and patient”.

Apifo’ou College rebuilt after Tropical Cyclone Gita

Source: SM Oceania Newsletter

Chanel College, Samoa

At the beginning of this year, Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga of Samoa blessed the renovations at Chanel College funded by former students of the College living in Samoa and overseas. The project was organised by the Chanel Uso Trust and cost close to $104,000 Samoan dollars.

Chanel College students Emanuel Falaniko, Elvin Leupolu, Fiailoa Saofai

Pastor Papali’i Iafeta Masipau is the president of Chanel Uso Trust. He said, “We thank God that we completed a successful project and everyone who helped make this possible. The project is significant because it is for a good cause such as providing good quality educational facilities for the students of Chanel”.

The renovation of classrooms, library and laboratory, as well as the cafeteria, was necessitated by the poor condition of the buildings, which had been built in 1962. Pastor Papali’i also said that the Chanel Uso Trust intended to continue their renovation support, and were considering ways to find volunteer teachers for the school.

Br Charlie Randle SM

As well, in Australia, Br Charlie Randle SM, 79 years young, is still riding his bike for 500+ kms to support the Marist Mission Centre’s Cycling for Children Appeal for the restoration of a school Education Centre at Chanel College.

This year some of our Marist seminarians studying for the priesthood in Rome joined Br Charlie in this venture. There are sixteen Marist seminarians in Rome from eight countries: Bougainville, Brazil, Cameroon, Fiji, Mexico, New Zealand, Senegal and Solomon Islands.

Our 2020 Cycling for Children Appeal is for the restoration of the forty-year-old two-storey education centre built in the shape of a Samoan house – known as a fale. This wonderful oval-shaped building has survived forty years of weather and cyclones and is badly in need of repair.

The ground floor of the fale is for all Health and Physical Education programmes and a school gym. The first floor serves as the school assembly hall, teachers’ accommodation, and a gathering place for parents and past-pupils.

Most of the 300 students who attend Chanel College are aged from thirteen to eighteen and come from low-income families. Fr. Sipiliano Faka’osi SM, the Vice-Principal at the College, said that “without Chanel Co-ed College, many of them would have been lost”.

The project will have a significant impact on the morale of the school and the whole local community. It will encourage more students to further their education in Samoa. Education offers students hope and sets hearts free – it is a passport to a future.  

To donate to this project, go to

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