Thursday, July 31, 2008

Peter ToRot - Amen

In the Papal visit of 1995, ToRot was beatified, the first step towards being declared a saint. The exhumation of his bones , rosary beads and belt so the Pope could bless the casket in Port Moresby, (the volcanic eruption in 1994 put an end to his visit to the area), caused quite a controversy .....

....but he nows lies in peace in the church.

Hopefully - Air N.G. willing - I will be home tomorrow!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Peter ToRot - part II

More on Peter ToRot and his Bascilica at Rakunai

The Japanese decided to forbid Christian worship and all types of religious gatherings, public and private. Subsequently, the repression became more violent. Peter was arrested in April or May 1945. He was held in a concentration camp which had been set up in a cave. A prison mate said: "He was often visited in prison by his aged mother and his wife, who brought him food every day. At one of their last visits, To Rot said to his mother: the police have told me that the Japanese doctor will be coming to give me some medicine. I suspect that this is a trick. I am really not ill at all and I cannot think what all this means".

Despite the precautions of the Japanese, Arap To Binabak, a prisoner, could see the brightly lit room where Peter had been summoned after the doctor arrived. The doctor gave Peter an injection, then something to drink and finally stuffed his ears and nose with cotton wool.

Then the doctor and two police officers made him lie down. Peter was stricken with convulsions. The "doctor" covered his mouth and kept it closed. The convulsions continued for a time, while the doctor held him still. Peter fell into unconsciousness and after a long while drew his last breath. The same eye witness gently spread the terrible news of Peter's death to his companions. Several prisoners, taking advantage of the night-time absence of the Japanese, wanted to see his body. Thus they verified his horrible death.

This information came from this internet site.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stained glass

I am in Port Moresby this week, but have scheduled a series a posts with the story of Peter ToRot, and some photos from his Memorial Basilica at Rakunai.

Some of the lovely stained-glass in the Church.

Peter ToRot was born in Rakunai in 1912. In 1930, at the age of 18, he enrolled at St Paul's Mission School for training catechists and in 1933 obtained his diploma. When he had completed his studies, Peter was assigned to the mission in his own village, and so began his work.

The decisive turning point in Peter To Rot's life and mission occurred in 1942. After the Japanese occupation, all the missionaries and mission staff were imprisoned in a concentration camp. So Peter remained alone. During the war he was the only spiritual guide for Catholics in the Rakunai district. With his constant presence, he provided prayer services, catechetical instruction, the administration of Baptism, the preservation and distribution of the Eucharist to the sick and the dying, and assistance to the poor. On the outskirts of Rakunai, he built a church for the Catholic community from branches, the only material available. The main church had been destroyed by the Japanese.

At the start of the Japanese occupation, he was on good terms with the military authorities. This sort of friendly relationship with the inhabitants ceased in 1942 after the Japanese suffered some military reverses. At that point the military police replaced the local authorities, creating an atmosphere of repression.

This information came from this Internet site.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Heavenly Sky Watch

This is the steeple on Peter To Rot's Memorial Church on the Burma Road, at Rakunai.

Catholic catechist To Rot was killed by the Japanese during WWII - more of him and his church next week.

For more heavenly posts go to the new Sky Watch blog here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Volcano scenes

This industrious girl was selling beads at the volcano. She saw our car and ran almost a kilometre through the ash to be the first; the other children arrived as we were leaving. Her smile tells it all.

These bamboo poles bleached by the hot winds and ash from the volcano, look like a lonely sculpture.


My good mate Susie has started a blog Rabaul Historical Society. It is a beauty and will be of special interest to the many ex-Rabaulites who visit me here. Take a look!!!


Holiday here today - thank goodness!! Was able to have a sleep-in and will spend a quiet day unpacking my suitcase - which is still on the floor untouched!! Although I have to go to Morseby next week so maybe I should just leave it there.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Holiday is over!!!

What in the world could this man be taking a photo of that is more interesting than what is happening behind him???


Am back in the land of smoking volcanoes and unreliable planes. Yes I did get stuck in Port Moresby and after a 2 a.m. start this morning, I arrived home an hour before I had to be at work - groan!!! As usual I need a week to recover from my holiday.

Thanks for all your visits while I was away. I will pop in and say hi as soon as I can - which means after I get a good night's sleep!!!