Preface of Holy Week
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THE MARTYRS OF NEW GUINEA
(2 SEP 1942)
New Guinea (also called Irian), one of the world's largest islands, has a difficult terrain that discourages travel between districts, Consequently, it is home to many isolated tribes, with many different cultures and at least 500 languages. Christian missionaries began work there in the 1860's, but proceeded slowly.
When World War II threatened Papua and New Guinea, it was obvious that
missionaries of European origin were in danger. There was talk of leaving.
Bishop Philip Strong wrote to his clergy: "We must endeavour to carry
on our work. God expects this of us. The church at home, which sent us
out, will surely expect it of us. The universal church expects it of us.
The people whom we serve expect it of us. We could never hold up our faces
again if, for our own safety, we all forsook Him and fled, when the shadows
of the Passion began to gather around Him in His spiritual and mystical
body, the Church in Papua."
by James Kiefer