Tuesday was the Feast of Blessed Peter To Rot.
He was born in 1912 at Rakuni, a village on the Melanesian Island of New Britain, now part of Papua New Guinea.
His family were among the first generation of Catholics in the area.
Peter became a catechist, married and had three children.
When the Japanese occupied the Island during the war, all the missionaries and missionary staff were imprisoned in a concentration camp.
Peter became the spiritual leader and guide of this relatively new Catholic community.
He baptised, held prayer services, gave communion to the sick and dying (from reserved Eucharist).
He built a makeshift church when the Japanese destroyed the original church.
The Japanese banned all Christian services and practises.
Peter was eventually murdered by the Japanese because of his Christian leadership and service.
Peter lived his Christian vocation and took great risks by continuing his Christian service of others, even when it was forbidden by the occupying Japanese forces.
All the baptised are called to Christian service and ministry. It is not only the ordained and religious who are called to leadership and responsibility in the Church.
That new Christian community in New Britain were appreciative of the difference Jesus made in their lives. On Sunday a young man and a young woman, on two separate occasions, spoke to me about wanting to explore the Christian faith.
So many in our times have grown up without a Christian upbringing. There is a restlessness in our being, in our heart, that is searching for ‘meaning’. God has not stopped calling people to Him.
The way we live or lives, the example we give, when given with respect, with faith, hope and love, can open the doors for those who are searching.
Then there are those who, for a variety of reasons, have become estranged from our Church family.
I find it surprising that so many have been given misinformation about our faith. It has been reduced to ‘rules’ and ‘regulations’ instead of relationship.
Then there are those who have been given unhelpful and even bad examples by those within the Church.
Each one of us can make a difference in preparing the way for Jesus.
We are called to be facilitators and living reminders, light of the world.
Blessed Peter was that in his environment in his time.
We are also called to minster every day in our own realities.
We are wounded healers as part of a servant, healing, humble Church, where all should feel loved and welcomed.