Catholics around Papua New Guinea today commemorated and celebrated the feast day of Blessed Peter Torot who was the first Papua New Guinean to be beautified as a Martyr for PNG on the 17th January 1995 by Late Pope John Paul the 2nd.
At the St Peter’s Chanel Catholic Church in Erima, Port Moresby, the feast day was celebrated with a Eucharistic Service Mass facilitated by Father Michael who was the main celebrant and the choir led by the Parish Youth’s and the NGI Choir Group.
During the Homily, Father Michael highlighted that Blessed Peter Torot had a very strong faith in the Lord and his courage to go about in spreading the gospel across the village and nearby places was well recognized.
“It was his courage and faith that enabled him to be identified and proclaimed a Martyr for PNG,” said Father Michael.
The feast day was celebrated with dance processions from the Parish’s different Basic Christian Community groups throughout the important parts of the mass.
Towards the end of the Eucharistic Service, the congregation came together to sing Blessed Peter Torot’s theme song.
Blessed Peter Torot, from Rakunai in Rabaul, East New Britain province was born on the 5th of March 1912. He served as a well-noted and beloved Christian and Catechist in his village Rakunai and was entrusted with the local parish during World War 2 when the Japanese occupied the region.
He stood up for religious values in the face of the Japanese oppression and continued to hold secret services when the Japanese restricted him from active pastoral services.
In the year 1945 at the age of 33, Blessed Peter Torot was given a lethal injection by the Japanese in an attempt to end his life however the poison in the injection was very slow and weak to respond. He was then tragically struck from the back of his neck with a Beal that eventually killed him.
Every year during his feast day, Catholic communities across PNG, celebrate with song and dance as well as the sharing of food to remember the courageous work that Blessed Peter Torot had done throughout his life.