St John Cawai

A STEP BACK INTO TIME

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1837: Bishop Pompallier visits Rotuma

1842: Bishop Bataillon, Fr. Chevron and Br. Attale visit Lakeba on the mission ship, Sancta Maria. They left Mosese Monatavai, a Tongan catechist whose parents resided in Fiji, at Lakeba.

1844: Two priests, Fr. Roulleaux, Fr Jean-Baptise Bréhéret, Brother Annet, two Wallisian catechists and four converted Fijians, who were residing in Tonga, arrive at Lakeba on the merchant ship, the Adolphe.

The 1st Mass was celebrated at Namuka, Lau on August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption.

1851: Ratu Cakobau arranged for land to be provided at Navutu, Ovalau for the Catholic Mission, having refused Bishop Battaillion's request to grant Fr. Mathieu and Br. Auguste the permission to establish a mission in Bau because the Wesleyan missionaries were already there.The Tui Levuka at that time, Ratu Samuela Tamanikaivavalagi allowed the two to settle in Navutu.The first Mass in Levuka was celebrated at Levuka Vakaviti and the site is known as the Mass Rock.

1852: The priests left Levuka for Rewa, Kadavu and Taveuni.
Tokou became the 1st village to convert to Catholicism.

1855: The Catholic Mission in Levuka was re- established at Navutu in August. The Missionaries included : Fr J.B. Bréhéret, who was appointed head of the mission, Fr. Michel, Fr. Favier and Br. Sorlin.

1858: Freedom of Religion Agreement signed at Levuka between Commander LeBris of the French warship and Ratu Cakobau. This treaty to protect the new catholics from persecutions by those who followed the Wesleyan faith.

1863: Fr. Jean-Baptiste Bréhéret was appointed Prefect Apostolic. He was the confirmed head of the mission and was given the power to confirm, adjudicate in marriage cases and to bless churches.

1870: Fr. Louyot began work on the Levuka church in 1869 and it was completed in 1870 with the decoration of the interior and the added belfry and four bells. He also built the new catholic presbytery in Levuka. This 2 storey presbytery was destroyed during a cyclone in 1905.

1877: Fr. Bréhéret bought 50 acres at Vatudamu, near Bureta to establish the new catechist center. This place was named Naserete. Fr. Monmayeur was in charge.

1882: Arrival of the first sisters in Levuka, the Third Order of Mary [TORM] as requested by Fr. Bréhéret. The French Sisters were : Sr. Mary of the Presentation, Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart and Sr. Marie de Jesu. Today they are known as the SMSM sisters, the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary.

1885: Catechist Centre moves from Naserete to Loreto.

1886: Boys school opened at Loreto.

1888: Marist Brothers [FMS] arrived in Fiji

1890: Transfer of 525 acres of land at Cawaci & Cicia from a Mr. Thomas Perry King Wilson to the Catholic Church. The trustees for the Catholic Mission were : Fr. J.B Bréhéret, Fr.Joseph Leberre and Ephrem Marie Bertreux.

Convent built at Levuka.

1892: Arrival of the Marist Sisters in Levuka on the 28th of March. The first three sisters were : Mother Melanie, Sr. Marthe and Sr. Sebastien.

The TORM Sisters were in charge of the boarding school for girls in Loreto

1893: By this year, the school for catechists at Cawaci was well established, having moved from Loreto due to the lack of land.

1894: St. John's College was opened at Cawaci for the sons of Fijian chiefs, both Catholic and non-Catholic. This was run by the Marist Brothers and the teachers included : Brother Maurice, Brother Vincent, Brother Cloman and Fr. L.Robert. The school began with 12 students and the main aim was to teach them English.

1897: The church of St. John the Baptist in Cawaci was built. The church was designed by Fr. Pierre Boudier but it was built under the supervision of Fr. Francis Trillot.

The school for Fijian girls was established in Cawaci on September 8th, the Feast of the Nativity. This was run by the Marist Sisters which included Mother Melanie, Sr. Isabelle and Sr. Marie-Joseph.

1905: The Presbytery in Cawaci was built by Fr Francis Trillot.

1920: The Sacred Heart Convent School started in Levuka.

1922: Monsignor Julien Vidal, Fiji's first bishop, dies in Cawaci on April 2nd. He was buried on the hill near Nasuku overlooking Wakaya and the Koro Sea.

1923: A minor seminary is established in Cawaci by Bishop Charles Joseph Nicholas. 21 students joined this seminary and were under the care of Fr. Lahaye. Later a major seminary was established under Fr. Neyret where the successful students were sent to NZ to complete their studies. The seminary school was built in Cawaci before it moved up to Nasuku in the early 1940's

1926: A memorial chapel was built over the grave of Bishop Vidal by Br Casmir Cochard. This memorial chapel is better known today as the Bishop's Tomb.

1929: St. Bede's Teacher's Training College was opened by the Marist Brothers in Cawaci. Students had to undergo a two year course.

1946: Loreto Catechist School at Cawaci closed.

St. Bede's Training College closed.

1947: Minor seminary closed and moved to Ba.

1952: St. John's College for boys started. The Marist Fathers and Columban Fathers were the first teachers.

Loreto rejoins Levuka Parish.

1955: Loreto High School for girls was opened. The Marist Sisters were in charge. Sr Felician, sm was the first principal. SOLN sisters looked after the Loreto boarders till 1968.

1959: Sacred Heart Convent School amalgamated with Marist Convent School in Levuka.

1972: Loreto High School Closed.

1973: St John's College and Loreto High School amalgamated and become a co-educational school for students from around Fiji.The Marist Father's and the Marist Sisters were in charge of the hostels and the school.The Principal was Fr Julian Waqa sm.

1978: Forms 1 & 2 moved from Marist Convent to St. John's College, Cawaci.

1992: Form 7 began in Cawaci.

1997: The Cawaci church is 100 years old. Centennial celebrations were held on June 21st and 22nd. The main celebrant was Archbishop Petero Mataca.

2000: 1st Lay Principal appointment in Cawaci. Mr. Sakiusa Sing, a former student, ex-teacher and former Director of Education became the new Principal of St. John's College.

Form 1 moved from St. John's College to Marist Convent School in Levuka.

2001: Form 2 moved from St. John's College to Marist Convent School in Levuka.New dormitory built for Form 7 and renovation of girls hostel.

2002: The Father Julian Waqa Computer Laboratory opened in Cawaci by the Rev.Beniamino Kaloudau, the Vicar General on Febuary 8th.

Renovations of the wooden hostel(Bermuda/Champagnat hostel) and two wooden classrooms.

2003: St John's is one of the 52 pilot schools who are currently undergoing the Compulsory Education Programme. Therefore the Form 3 students are assessed internally on the allocated tasks and these marks will account for 50% of their Fiji Junior mark. In Form 4 , their exams will be based on the Form 4 coverage and this will account for the other 50%.

All secondary schools on Ovalau sat a common paper in all subjects during the end of Term 3 Examinations.

There were 4 terms this year due to the South Pacific Games in Suva in June.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 September 2009 01:09 )  

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