Concluding Eucharist of 61st CBC AGM
- Paul Harricknen, Catholic Professionals Society
Port Moresby: The Catholic Bishops Conference PNGSI officially ended their 61st Annual General Meeting (AGM) with a thanksgiving Holy Eucharist at the CBC head office in Port Moresby on Thursday, 02 July 2020 at 5.00 pm. The celebrations incorporated the laity theme of upholding holiness, formed and sent for service. The Eucharist was also marked the life and example of Blessed Peter ToRot on the Martyr’s 25 years of his Beatification and 75 years anniversary of his Martyrdom.
Archbishop Rochus Tatamai, MSC, a close family descendent of Bl. Peter ToRot gave a moving homily highlighting the life, witness, and example of Bl. ToRot as a man of courage and fortitude in faith and resolve to follow Jesus Christ by his life and death. ToRot was a family man, catechist, teacher, and eventually died a martyr in defense of his Christian faith. Tatamai recollected the life of Bl. ToRot from the time his parents became the first-generation Christians when the missionaries landed on Matupit in 1882. ToRot was a second-generation Christian following in the footsteps of his parents.
ToRot was trained and formed as a catechist. He learned and worked hard work with discipline and obedience to become a good teacher and a catechist. He would usually work beyond his call of duty. When he married he lived a very good married and family life following the Gospel teaching. He defended the values of marriage and resisted his traditional culture of polygamy and the laws of the Japanese Imperial Army, and gladly died standing for his faith. ToRot left behind many great examples of obedience, family life, teacher, catechist, prayer, respect, and faith. ToRot stood for his faith and died of his faith even when some family members betrayed him. The laity in particular is challenged to continue with the life and work of ToRot especially in today’s challenging and uncertain times.
ToRot grew out of a time of lock down in World War 2 with restrictions on church activities but he persisted with his pastoral work of teaching and catechesis to bring souls to Christ. The lockdown anxieties of CoVid-19 can give us a taste of such experience of being persistent and to keep growing in our faith. ToRot is not a stranger to us. He is one of us – a father, husband, teacher, example and witness.
The liturgy choir was jointly organised by the Mary Queen of Pacific parish and the Bl. Peter ToRot Foundation. The music and the voices were angelic. About 50 people including 17 bishops, 2 Administrators, CBC staff, clergy, religious and laity faithful attended the celebration. The Holy Mass was led by His Grace, Archbishop Anton Bal of Madang Archdiocese who is also the newly elected President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNGSI. He was joined by His Eminence Sir John Cardinal Ribat, MSC, new Archbishop of Rabaul His Grace Rochus Tatamai, MSC, and Bishop Otto Separy of Bereina Diocese. Bishop Otto is the new deputy President of CBC PNGSI.
CBC staff presented gifts to Archbishop Emeritus Francisco Panfilo, SDB, who was attending his last AGM of the Bishops. He was given a farewell commendation for his servant leadership to the people of Alotau-Sideia, Rabaul and PNG. He was affectionately described as the voice of the voiceless and a beacon of hope for the little people. May God continue to bless and keep him well in his retirement.