By JINA AMBA
On July 7 every year, the Catholic Church all over the world celebrates the Feast of Blessed Peter ToRot, a layman, catechist and martyr from East New Britain.
Last Saturday, July 7, 2018, the Laity Commission of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands was dedicated to Blessed Peter ToRot. The event took place at St Martin de Porres Parish, Morata, Port Moresby.
The event began with the Chimbu group in their traditional singsing, and bilas welcoming an image of Blessed Peter To Rot and Most Rev Bishop Bernard Unabaili, Bishop of Bougainville and Deputy Bishop of the Laity Commission of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
The offertory procession was done by the Tolai community of Rabaul, East New Britain, the native place of Blessed Peter To Rot.
Bishop Bernard Unaballi in his homily said, “We must not develop plans in our own human capacity then at the end ask God to bless them. No! Planning must start with God and it must be a journey with Him until it is accomplished. Dedicating the Commission for Laity to God through the patronage of Blessed Peter ToRot at the initial stages of the commission is involving God in the whole process of laity formation and not leaving Him out till the very end.”
He challenged the people saying, “We have gone into a very fatal and dangerous trend of our Christian worship. We become so fanatic with the organised system of worship and forget about living our faith in our everyday life. We put up big liturgical celebrations on Sunday and then after the celebration, we don’t help the poor.
“We share the Word of God during fellowship and then we gossip after the fellowship. We pray for forgiveness and peace during prayer time and after prayer we don’t forgive and create disharmony with our neighbours and sternly refuse to forgive. We have a big problem of knowing Christ by facts but are not prepared to live him in faith.”
He ended his homily saying, “All devotional groups and ministries for lay people or lay associations in the church must be coordinated in consultation with the Commission for Laity and must be under the laity. They must all be under the Commission for Laity.”
After the homily Unaballi, dedicated the Laity Commission of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to the patronage of Blessed Peter ToRot.
After the mass, Fr Victor Roche, the general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands said, “When we say Yumi yet yumi sios, it means we are the church. The church is of all, beyond any barrier. When we live out the gospel values, it becomes the church alive in Christ.
“Christ becomes alive in the church and church becomes alive in Christ. Let us all join one another in building the church which is the body of Christ by being good to others.”
Michael Warapik, chairman for the Laity Core Group said, “All the lay faithful of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands must work and stand together in prayer and devotion for the promotion of the canonisation of Blessed Peter ToRot.”
Chairman of the Foundation of Blessed Peter ToRot Alfred Nakue, said:
“Blessed Peter ToRot is not only a model for Catholics; he is a role model for all Christian as he was also a war hero like the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.”
“He also fought against the Japanese soldiers but it was not a physical war; it was a spiritual war against the anti-Christ policies and immoral ideologies and rules of the Japanese. This cost him his life. He was a hero that fought a spiritual warfare against the Japanese.”
Nakue continued: “Let us also put up icons in public places to promote the way Blessed Peter ToRot stood tall against immorality and sin under the Japanese rule. He was in fact a hero of the war in the spiritual battle and should also be honored at the civil arena for that.”
Joseph Tobung, secretary of the laity commission concluded the programme and thanked St Martin de Porres Parish, for accepting the pilgrimage and the devotion to be commenced there.
“It is not a mistake to begin this journey of the Laity Commission under the patronage of Blessed Peter To Rot at St. Martin de Porres Parish, Morata,” he said.
“It is not an accident to mark Morata Catholic Church as a shrine of Blessed Peter To Rot and have the devotions every Friday starting on July 13, Morata Catholic Church has truly become a church of the laity with the faithful people being given the full responsibility to take charge of the mission of the church with the close supervision and formation of the parish priest.
“It will be used as a model parish for all laity formation programmes. Thanks to the parish priest, the chairman, the parish executive and the parishioners of St Martin de Porres Parish, Morata, for such great effort.” Nakue said.
By JINA AMBA