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A word from the Archbishop of Papua New Guinea
It has been seventy years since the horrific martyrdoms that took place during World War II.
On 2 September we honour the lives of John Barge (priest), Margery Brenchley (nurse), John Duffill (builder), Leslie Gariardi (evangelist and teacher), May Hayman (nurse), Henry Holland (priest), Lilla Lashmar (teacher), Henry Matthews (priest), Bernard Moore (priest), Mavis Parkinson (teacher), Vivian Redlich (priest) and Lucian Tapiedi (evangelist and teacher).
We will give thanks for their dedication to God and for the devotion which they showed to the people of what is now Papua New Guinea. But the Church does not only look backwards in grateful commemoration. The Church is looking forward. Just as the priest-martyrs ministered at the altar for the people of PNG, so too the Church prays today. Just as the teacher-martyrs taught the people of PNG and proclaimed the Gospel, so too the Church educates and evangelises today. Just as the nurse-martyrs cared for the sick of PNG, so too the Church heals today. Just as the builder-martyr worked to help the people of PNG, so too the Church labours to build up the people of PNG today.
The theologian Tertiullian (d.c. 225) wrote, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”. The seed planted by the Martyrs of New Guinea has borne fruit and continues to do so in contemporary Papua New Guinea.
As members of the Church continuing with the witness of the Gospel today, we are called to be “Transformed by the renewal of the mind to obedience of Faith for Holistic Mission in a radically Changing Global Landscape,” offering our sanctified bodies and renewed minds as living sacrifices for our Lord’s glory (Rom. 12:1-2).
‡ Joseph Kopapa
Archbishop of Papua New Guinea