Overseas visitors, locals mark ToRot’s 100 years

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday 10th July, 2012

Reports by ABIGAIL APINA                  
HUNDREDS of people gathered at the Rakunai Catholic Cathedral, in East New Britain province, last Saturday to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Blessed Peter ToRot.
Visitors from Rome, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen and Archbishop Santo Gangemi (Papal Nuncio to Papua New Guinea) were in the province from Friday to represent Pope Benedict XVI and be part of the celebrations.
They left the province yesterday for Port Moresby.
It is understood the church will be celebrating ToRot’s centenary in the province for a week.
Peter ToRot was born in 1912 at Rakunai, to Angelo Tu Puia, a Tolai village chief and his wife Maria Ia Tumul, both members of the Catholic Church.
ToRot is known by many as pleasant in nature, gentle and helpful in character.
He was enrolled in 1930 at St Paul’s College, Taliligap, which was founded by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to train lay catechists.
Three years later he was appointed catechist to the parish of Rakunai and on November 11, 1936, he married Paula Ia Varpit.
The Japanese occupation of New Britain in January 1942 marked a turning point in ToRot’s life.
ToRot found himself responsible for the mission after the missionaries were imprisoned by the Japanese military.
Many people in the world today recognise him as a champion of family life.