Fr Michael Tondicop R.I.P.

Fr Michael Tondicop died suddenly in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville on July 4.

He had just returned, on Saturday evening, from visiting small Christian communities at Tohatsi, Hanahan parish, hearing confessions of school children preparing for first communion.

Michael was the superior the Koromira Marist community on Buka in Bougainville.

He had previously been superior of the Bougainville region of the Oceania province of the Society of Mary.

The Bishop of Port Vila (Vanuatu), Jean Bosco Barames trained for the priesthood with Michael.

Jean Bosco and Tondicop studied together for ten years.

Jean Bosco recalls that they both came from small islands and they met for the first time in 1973 during their first year at St Joseph’s High School in Rigu (Kieta), where they studied from 1973 to 1976.

They then went on to St Peter Chanel, in Ulapia, Rabaul, a kind of minor seminary, to complete years 11 and 12.

“I can’t say that Michael was a young man with an aptitude for study but he was someone who was strong in his faith and his prayer, and an athlete. He played Rugby League and showed quite remarkable ability,” said Jean Bosco.

“At the end of 1978 we completed our schooling and since we were Marist aspirants, Father Ed Duffy, the regional superior at the time, sent us to the south of Bougainville to stay with families for a few months, in the parish of Tabago.”

In late 1979, they went to Fiji to prepare for their novitiate, which began in 1980.

They were professed together in January 1981 and went back to Papua New Guinea where from 1981 to 1983 they studied for the priesthood at Holy Spirit Seminary in Bomana.

They eventually parted company at the end of 1983, meeting up again in 1987, one or two weeks before their ordination to the priesthood, which took place on 4 December 1987.

After ordination Michael was appointed to work in Bougainville and John went to New Caledonia.

They worked together again in Bougainville from 2000 to 2002.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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