Following the death of his wife Felix Tapaparoa Ngapare was cast adrift, rudderless, but still with a deep yearning in his heart. As a young man, and then as a married man living in New Zealand, his life revolved around his love of church and family.
It was not surprising then, that in the midst of his searching, he found his way back to the parish of his childhood, St Paul’s, Titikaveka, Rarotonga.
He tells of walking into the church one evening to pray and seeing on the whiteboard behind the altar, the antiphon for the day, ‘Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will’.
This response, and the fact that Fr Damien Marinus, the local parish priest, was there to greet him as he stepped out of the church, changed his life.
On 1 October 2006 the parish of St Paul’s gathered to celebrate Fr Felix’s first Mass in his childhood parish, having been ordained in Hastings earlier this year.
His faith story had come full circle. It was such a heartwarming occasion for the tiny settlement, and none had a greater smile than Fr Damien, as he concelebrated with one of his own. The parish had a kai kai after the liturgy, during which they presented Fr Felix with an engraved chalice and two patens.
His one desire, he said, was that he might be able to pass on the chalice to someone else in the parish before his time was up.