Late Br Bertrand Webster

By Joel Hamago – Canberra, Australia

Acknowledging a wonderful man, an influential Marist Brother and educator who recently passed away after giving almost 40 years of his life to Papua New Guinea. I first met Br. Brian Bertrand Webster over ten years ago and we immediately connected. His gentle sensitive nature allowed me to open up. I felt he understood me. He became a spiritual guide and along with many young men, he instilled not only spiritual growth but also confidence in ourselves. He loved PNG and its people.

Br Bert had a special way of praying. I asked him once what was the best way of prayer and he answered me, “There are many ways to talk to God. You can sometimes sit before the altar and say nothing. Just bask in the glory of God,” he said.

Bertie would visit my mother when she was very sick and would sit and talk with her in an encouraging and healing manner. He himself at that time suffered from a bad fall, but that did not stop him from visiting other sick people. I am sure mum would welcome Bertie home.

When I was in Bougainville, I noticed that the name Bertrand was quite popular. I later learnt that Bertie’s former students have named their sons after him. Br. Bertrand spent 38 of the last 45 years in various locations in PNG and Solomon Islands. The prime of his missionary journey was in Bougainville at St. Joseph’s Rigu where he taught and was the headmaster from 1970s and 1980s. He clearly remembered his former students in Bougainville and would speak of them with fondness if any memory of Bougainville came to him.

I describe Bertrand as a very simple Brother who would put the welfare of others before himself. He was always sensitive in his choice of words as he did not want others to be offended with what he said. He wasn’t very adept with new technological devices such as mobile phones, internet and laptops. Once I offered to buy him a mobile phone when I visited him in Port Moresby on one of my duty travels. He declined to accept the gift, nor the money, despite strong work of persuasion. Br. Bertrand remained very loyal as a Brother, loyal to his religious vows and sharing his Brotherhood among friends and those who came to know him in his ministry.

Br. Bertrand entered the Marist Teaching Brothers’ novitiate in Mittagong, Sydney in 1956; took first religious vows in July 02, 1957 and made final profession in 1963. He arrived on the shores of PNG in 1969. He loved the people and the country so much that with the country receiving independence, in solidarity with the people he loved, he became a naturalised citizen. He was called back to our Maker on the 18th of September, 2014, in Madang.


Late Dr Jerry Semos

By Bomai Witne

I was approaching my office around 7.30 on Tuesday morning when I heard my wife calling, “Di, Di, Di” and saw her running after me.

She showed me a text message from Father Luke Apa at Divine Word University telling us of the passing of Associate Professor Dr Jerome (Jerry) Semos.

My wife and I looked each other in the eyes and were silent for a few minutes. We did not say a word. Then I emailed some of Jerry’s former colleagues in the Social Sciences and Business Studies Divisions at the University of Goroka.

I came to know Jerry in 2007 when I enrolled for postgraduate studies at the University of Goroka. I was among a few students doing his Conflict Resolution course.

Jerry was handsome and had an admirable physical build – tall and muscular capped with a neat haircut. A bilum was always around his neck; and sometimes he wore a tie underneath it.

He possessed a smile that came from his heart and penetrated my own. He smiled and told me to call him Jerry. I was at ease with him.

The physical and academic differences meant little in our relationship. He encouraged me to excel and reach out to others. He told me to do it for the “common good”.

From time to time, he shared the contents of his bilum with me. He gave me betel nut, saying, “Kaikai taim yu go long haus”. (Chew it on your way home)

He told me how his wife had left for studies and the children were with her in Australia – and paused to hold back his tears. He told me he loved his family and missed them. He was a true Melanesian of his era. These moments with him remain fresh in my memory.

I shared these moments of this special relationship with my family. My wife liked Jerry. Every afternoon, she’d ask, “Papa blong yu, Dr Semos tok wanem long yu long klas.” (What did your father, Dr Semos, tell you in class today?)

In our department meetings, I’d sit quietly and listen. Jerry talked with passion on divisional matters. He saw the division within the framework of the university and country. He was a firm believer of continuity and change. He raised the need for capacity building in the division and encouraged staff, especially young staff, to take up the challenges that bring out potential and goodness.

He talked with emotion and a smile.

Jerry was supervising me in my MA degree program when he left for Divine Word University.

His departure was a blow to me and I emailed him from time to time on the progress of my thesis. He would always take time to assure me that it was OK. He made sure my thesis went through the process efficiently and I graduated.

Associate Professor Jerry Semos was one of a kind. He was a rare Papua New Guinean. Even those who saw him from a distance recognised him as a true giant. I had the privilege of being in contact with this giant with his vast wealth of knowledge, skill, experience, character and humility. All for the common good.

My family will continue to cherish the goodness emanating from this great Bougainvillean.

Nina Jerry, en eranga na Kipri’i wo. (Papa Jerry, I am deeply saddened by your passing)



Jerry Ginua

Journalist (1964-2014)

I grew up with my eyes fixed on him,

The guy in the middle of the boxed shaped television set,

With a fancy little moustache, dark skinned.

I never thought I would one day meet him personally.

But I walked into the Kundu2 newsroom two years ago for my practical;

No experience in television reporting.

He was there, with is big body but not threatening: Paps Jerry as we fondly called him.

“Son, everybody is finishing from university with degrees,

But to be in media, you have to be committed.”

And again, “Never use words ordinary people don’t understand;

They don’t need your fancy English; it’s the information they want.”

Finally, just before going back to school last February, he said to me

“Son, you must come and work with me when you finish.”

Sadly, that’s not possible; you are no longer with us, Paps Jerry!

May your soul rest in eternal peace!

Bradley Gregory – DWU Journalism Student


Life of Fr. Ziggy Kruczek

Zdzisław Zygmunt Kruczek was born in Futoma, Poland on January 9th, 1945. He completed his primary education in 1959 and began his secondary studies at the Minor Seminary run by the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel (Michaelites) in Miejsce Piastowe. After finishing the novitiate in 1963 he matriculated in Rzeszów in 1966. In 1967 he pursued philosophical-theological studies at the Theological Institute in Przemyśl and after that he was ordained priest for the Michaelites in 1973. After two years of pastoral experience in the parish and one year of studies at the Catholic University of Lublin (Poland), he left his home country and arrived to Australia to upgrade his English. In February 1977 he moved to Papua New Guinea and joined the missionary team of the Mount Hagen Diocese. After half a year of introduction in Mabulga he took over Kuruk Parish where he worked until the beginning of 1986. Then his superiors transferred him to the Enga Province (Diocese of Wabag) where he functioned as the missionary parish priest at Wanepap (Laiagam). In 1993 he returned to Mount Hagen and started the foundation of the Michaelites Community at Rebiamul where he filled the role of Community superior until the end of 2004. In 2008, after completing his rector’s task at Good Shepherd Seminary, he undertook the duty of being facilitator of Michaelites’ formation programme in Papua New Guinea.

Before he left Poland in 1976, he received an MA in Theology from the Catholic University of Lublin. From 1982 he did correspondence studies for two years in Classics and in Ancient History at the University of Armidale (Australia) and in 1994-1996 he undertook post-graduate Studies in Religion in Brisbane at Queensland University. In 1989-1991 he engaged in studies at the Theological Academy of Warsaw where he gained his Licentiate in Missiology and then in 1991 he obtained a Doctorate in Theology at the same Institution. In 1992/1993 there he also completed the Doctoral Course in the Faculty of Church History and Social Church Teaching. At the beginning of 1994 he began to lecture at Good Shepherd Seminary in Fatima, Mount Hagen Archdiocese where he was engaged until 2008, and where since 2005 he has been a Rector for three years. Previously he had also lectured as a principal lecturer for three years at the Divine Word University in Madang (1997-1999). In 2006 Fr. Kruczek obtained a Qualified Doctorate (Habilitation) in Theology (History of the Church) at the Catholic University of Lublin. Since the year 2008 he is giving block courses at the Major Diocesan Seminary of Charles Borromeo at Lote, Vanimo Diocese, and at Catholic theological Institute at Bomana, Port Moresby in Church History and Christianity in Melanesia.

Since 1995 Fr. Kruczek has been the editor of the newly originated Academic Annual Magazine of the Michaelites (MI-CHA-EL CSMA) in Papua New Guinea and Australia. Until now he published eight books and is the author of ca. 160 of articles, review articles, educational materials, editorials, reports, translations, interviews, contributions, reviews, academic talks, testimonies, letters and of a few unpublished works in English, Tok Pisin and Polish. He presented his talks in Papua New Guinea and in Poland. Being engaged in scholarly research, he was a member of three Academic Societies: Religious History Society (Australia); The International Association of Catholic Missiologists (Rome); The National Geographic Society (USA).

Since 2012 Fr. Ziggy Kruczek was Associate Professor working in the Post-Graduate and Research Department of Divine Word University in Madang.

(Source: Fr Zdzisław Mlak SVD)


Late Sr Elizabeth Keaike Inapi

By Sr Relida Gumur FDNSC

Sr Elizabeth Keaike Inapi was born on the 15th July 1947 at Inauaia village in the Diocese of Bereina- Central Province. Her parents were Marcello Efi Laua and Theresa Okoa Kaule. She came from a large family. There were only two of them from the first marriage. Her brother Theodore Efi Keaike and her self. She had 4 other step brothers and 5 step sisters. Her step sisters were Madeline, Philo, Maria, Margaret and another Maria. Her step brothers were, Camillo, Bernard , Andrew and Emmanuel.

She went to School at Inauaia Primary school and went as far as grade 6 in 1965. From when she left grade 6 until 1970 she stayed at home and so often called herself a village girl. No doubt while she was at home she would have met and come to know our Sisters and learn about our Congregation the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart as our Sisters were already there at Inauaia Parish.

She entered the Postulate of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on February 2, 1970 and entered the Novitiate in 1971 at Yule Island. She made her first profession on the 30th November 1972 at Yule Island, made her second vows on the 30th November 1975 at Gusaweta on the Trobriand Islands Milne Bay Province. Then on the 15th January 1978 she made her Perpetual Profession at her home Parish Inauaia. This gave Sr. Elizabeth and her family much joy as she wanted to use the occasion to promote vocation to our Congregation as well as that to Religious life in her village. It also gave the opportunity to the people to witness Sr. Elizabeth’s total giving of herself to Jesus forever as she was the only OLSH Sister from Inauaia Parish at that time. In fact until she died she was the only OLSH Sister from Inauaia.

Sr. Elizabeth Inapi was involved in many activities and apostolates during her lifetime. She also took the opportunities offered to her to upgrade her level of Education and do other courses to prepare herself for the particular apostolates that she was asked to take up. She was interested in learning new things and new ways of doing things. In 1980 she went to do CODE at Vunapope in order to bring herself up to grade 10 level.

In 1981 she went to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Teachers’ College Kabaleo in East New Britain to do her Teacher’s Training. She did this because of her great desire to teach the children and tell them about God’s love for them. She found the studies at the Teachers College quite challenging however she still tried her best. At the end of the year she was advised by the College administration not to continue the following year. Sr. Elizabeth found this difficult to accept but after some time she accepted it and set out to find other ways of letting people know about God’s love for them

Sr. Elizabeth used any opportunity that was offering to update herself; be it for her Pastoral work, Home Care ministry , Womens’ group or whatever came her way. In August 2004 she received a Certificate of Recognition of Service for the Religious participation and contribution she offered to the Catholic women in the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Port Moresby.

Some of the qualities we saw in Sr. Elizabeth were:

  • She was a joyful person and had a very good sense of humour. When she laughed her whole body would shake with laughter. She enjoyed life and wanted others to do the same.
  • She did not talk about other people. If she was disappointed or angry with anyone, she would turn away and say : Lord, give me love”
  • She loved dancing ever since she was small. When she told her mother about her desire to be a sister, her mother was doubtful because she thought that Elizabeth would continue to dance in the convent and she might be sent home.
  • She did not complain but was very grateful for what she received or for what was done for her. This was clearly shown in her last illness which ended in her death. Towards the end she was suffering very much and in much pain, but never did we hear a word of complaint The words that came out of her mouths were: “Thank You” Someone went to see her on her sick bed and asked: Liz, how are you today? Her response was: “ As well as can be expected under the circumstances.”
  • In her Pastoral ministry she was good with families. She could reach the level of the group she was engaged with. If she was talking to children, she would talk at their level, with the youth or adults she would communicate with them at their level.
  • She had a great love and great devotion to St. Joseph and she gave him the nickname of Joey. She had that childlike trust in St. Joseph and if you asked her to pray for some intention she would say.” St. Joseph will fix that for you, don’t worry.” When she found out that there was a group of men in her own parish Inauaia who were known as St. Joseph’s group she gave them encouragement to remain strong in this devotion. The group has increased in numbers.
  • She gave herself for others. She made time for those who came to her, needing someone to listen to them. She would go and visit the sick and the old in their homes or the hospitals. In the parishes where she worked, she knew the people because she associated herself with them and what was happening. Liz was a very sociable person.
  • Elizabeth started the Junior Associates of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Hagita and at Inauaia the women’s Associates group
  • She was a prayerful person and had a spirit of solitude. She was community minded, considerate, and had the extra vocation of looking after priests especially those in the outstations.

Liz had that beautiful smile on her face most of the time and until the end. Even after her death, that smile was still very noticeable. Those who came into her room   commented: Oh, she is smiling!

Liz, as we say our last goodbye and pay our last tribute to you, we thank God for the blessings he has given to us all through your person. Thank you for teaching us how to be joyful, how to be grateful, to live simple lives trusting that we have only to ask our loving God and we will receive. Liz, these you taught us not by you words but by your very life. Liz, remember us in the house of the Father. Thank you, goodbye, we love you. May you rest in God’ loving embrace forever.

21st July 2014


The apostle of Goilala students passes

Bro Brendan Crowe FSC

(17 August 1942 – 10 June 2014)

By Fr Roger Purcell MSC

Bro Brendan Crowe (de La Salle) died on 10th June in Melbourne, Australia. He spent many years in Papua New Guinea and leaves behind a great legacy of work, achievements and most importantly, friends. One of his confreres said, “his loyalty, commitment, generosity, set purpose and dare we say devotion, could well be an allegory for his life both professional and religious.” He was a true Aussie who enjoyed his football (North Melbourne), a beer with friends and stories. He was a religious of dedication and a man with a vision of what could be done, and great energy and determination to get it done.

He came first in 1972 to Maino Hana High School in Bereina Diocese becoming involved in SSCEP (Secondary Schools Community Extension Programme) bringing that dedication and commitment to all he did. When I first knew him he was at Tapini High School, which he was instrumental in establishing. His many trips on the Louis Mona Highway (Tapini Highway) were the stuff of legends and the mechanics at PNG Motors often worked overtime on his Mazda to keep it on the road.

Previously the Goilala students used to go to Maino Hana High School, and Brendan would often walk back with them in the Christmas holidays and visit the villages; hence his great interest and commitment to Goilala. On these walks he said that in crossing the high passes he always put himself at the end of the line and did not allow anyone to stop in the cold and mist of the pass, but to go further down, find shelter and light a fire to warm up. Many have died of cold in those passes.

He spent years in Goilala establishing many small community schools, finding teachers, getting them to the schools and chasing them through the settlements in Port Moresby to ensure they were in their schools. He was so well known he could go freely into any settlement in the city to find teachers, students and parents. He pestered Members and Public Servants to get funds for the schools, and turned to the Embassies to establish a radio system in the schools.

From the Tapini Canteen the brothers ran a system of supply to the remote teachers. They would pay their salary into the canteen account, send their orders by radio and the Brothers would send their goods by plane and debit their accounts. Brendan’s policy was that if the teacher was in the school the kids were being taught. He patrolled regularly to these schools in very difficult terrain, found materials to build and organized Rotary Australia to came and build them, often in very remote location. Following many others before him, he was a real apostle to the Goilala bringing the benefits of education to many remote villages.

With these schools feeding the High School and his care for the teachers the aggregate mark at Tapini High School climbed steadily to be one of the best in the nation.

Later when his health declined he moved to Trinity Teachers College in Mt. Hagen with a better climate. Here he accepted to be the primary writer of the PNG Catechism, working closely with the Catechism Committee under the Liturgical Catechetical Institute (LCI). Much of his work was really very good requiring a lot of study and thought; there were days too when it was not so good and the Committee had to rework the chapters or start again.

In all of these works, over many years, he has contributed greatly to the development of the nation and the church leaving behind many great friends, endless memories and stories and a fine legacy of achievement.Image