On Tuesday, October 11th, Dominican Archbishop Christopher Cardone who serves on the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific visited the Dominican Sisters of Amityville’s Motherhouse in NY. (It only took him three plane trips and 24 hours to arrive.)
The Archbishop is here visiting the U.S. to celebrate the wedding of a relative, but while in the area, he stopped to visit Dominican friends including S. Joan Nolan and Dominican Father Ron Henery.
Archbishop Cardone celebrated Mass and then spoke to sisters gathered in the Martin DePorres Room sporting a deep tan and sandals on his feet as well as a cross made from turtle shell, mother of pearl and dolphin teeth, which is the native currency on the Islands.
He explained that serving as the Archbishop of Honiara in the Solomon Islands is a unique experience. More than 70 languages are spoken there, so when he preaches, he does it in Pidgin English — which combines native languages with English. Instead of using the term Resurrection, the Archbishop would say “Time Jesus give me life back more.”
Archbishop Chris delightfully reported Good News:
- Vocations are alive and well — with most sisters and priests coming from the native populations.
- The government invests in Catholic schools, paying the salaries of teachers, and supporting each pupil with a limited monetary sum.
- At just the Sunday Mass he celebrates, 3,000 people attend. The festivities continue all day with music, dance and activities!
S. Joan knew Archbishop Cardone as a Chaminade High School student who volunteered in her religious education program at Corpus Christi in Mineola.
After Chaminade, Christopher went on to attend a Dominican school: Providence College in Rhode Island. Inspired by the stories in the Maryknoll Magazine, he accepted a calling to the Dominican Order and was ordained in 1986.
S. Joan attended his first Mass as a priest at St. Raymond Church in Lynbrook, but lost contact as their ministries took them in different directions.
Father Ron first met him while serving at St. Stephen Priory in Dover where Christopher was a novice. “I remember him as a young man of integrity and sincerity,” Father Ron said. “After his ordination, I wasn’t surprised to hear of his interest in the foreign missions.”
Archbishop Cardone was first sent to the Solomon Islands in 1988. In 2001, he was ordained a bishop and he was then ordained the Archbishop of Honiara in 2016.
Through a mutual friend, Chrissy McHale in Amityville Motherhouse’s Finance Office, S. Joan reconnected with him over email for the first time in many years in February. “Our friendship has really developed in these last few months,” said S. Joan. Noting his warmth and humility, she continued, “I don’t think of him as an Archbishop. From the beginning he as always said, ‘Call me Chris.'”
“During his preaching at Mass on Tuesday, Fr. Chris made reference to the Feast Day of Pope John XIII, his favorite Pope,” commented Father Ron. “This speaks volumes of the type of humble servant-leadership that Fr. Chris exemplifies in the discipleship community of Christ. His love for God’s little and vulnerable ones is so excellently gospel-faithful and Dominican.”
Already Archbishop Cardone has written a “thank you” to the Sisters of St. Dominic’s congregation. “Thank you for a wonderful and enjoyable day together,” he wrote. “Thanks for your love and prayers and hope we can get together again.”
Noting that we are part of the same Dominican family, S. Joan said. “He found another home on Long Island.”