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APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO KOREA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA,
SOLOMON ISLANDS AND THAILAND
(MAY 2-11, 1984)

HOLY MASS FOR EVANGELIZATION

HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II

Mount Hagen (Papua New Guinea)
Tuesday, 8 May 1984

 

1. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all"[1].

I greet you, people of the Highlands and citizens of Papua New Guinea. I great yοu as members of many different tribes, with different customs and languages.

I greet you, sons and daughters of the Church, and in particular you, the faithful of Mount Hagen, who are dedicated in a special way to the Most Holy Trinity. By partaking in the one bread which is the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, yοu have grown into one people of God, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, his holy Church.

The Church in Papua New Guinea, a hundred years after its beginning, solemnly celebrates today its unity with the universal Church through the presence of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter.

2. The history of evangelization in your country and the growth of the Church here reveals to us the great and wonderful works that the Lord has done in your midst. Let us look for just a moment at that part of the history of salvation which has taken place here in your land.

After earlier attempts at evangelization were unable to be sustained, an uninterrupted missionary enterprise came into being near the end of the last century. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart brought the Gospel to New Britain and to the southern coastal region of New Guinea Island. A few years later, the Divine Word Fathers began to evangelize on the north-east coast of New Guinea Island, and the Marists started missionary efforts on Bougainville Island.

From these original mission areas, five Vicariates Apostolic eventually emerged : Rabaul, Papua, East New Guinea, Central New Guinea and the North Solomons. These in turn had grown to fifteen in number when, in 1966, the hierarchy was established in Papua New Guinea, in recognition of the maturity already attained by the local Church. Today there are four Metropolitan Sees with fourteen Dioceses :

 ― Rabaul, with the suffragan Dioceses of Bougainville and Bavieng ;

 ― Port Moresby, with the suffragan Dioceses of Alotau-Sideia, Bereina, Daru and Kerema ;

 ― Madang, with the suffragan Dioceses of Aitape, Lae, Vanimo and Wewak ;

 ― Mount Hagen, with the suffragan Dioceses of Goroka, Bundiawa, Mendi and Wabag.

The Church has indeed put down her roots everywhere among the beloved people of this country : from your many smaller islands to the larger island of New Guinea.

In union with the entire ecclesial community living in Papua New Guinea, all of us today offer praise and thanks together to the Most Holy Trinity because God's eternal plan of revelation and salvation has been realized among the People of God in this country—that eternal plan of which Saint Paul writes in his Letter to the Ephesians.

3. At the appointed time, the divine mystery revealed in Jesus Christ was made knοwn to the sons and daughters of Papua New Guinea, the mystery which was first revealed by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and prophets, particularly on the day of Pentecost.

Through the missionary service of the Church, the sons and daughters of this country have become "fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel"[2].

All those who contributed and those who are still contributing to this ecclesial service of evangelization—I am speaking of the missionaries and their collaborators, both living and dead—are giving thanks today to the Most Holy Trinity, because to them "this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things"[3].

At this celebration of the Eucharist, we approach our heavenly Father, placing our hope and trust "in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whοm we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him"[4].

We recall how Christ prayed for his disciples the day before his redemptive Passion and death : "Holy Father, keep them in your name, whom you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one"[5].

"Sanctify them in the truth ; yοur word is truth. As yοu sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrated myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth"[6].

This is how Christ prayed to the Father the day before he died. And he prayed not only for the Apostles who were with him in the Upper Room, but also for all those who would believe in him through their word[7].

He prayed for those who brought the light of the Gospel here to Papua New Guinea.

He prayed for those who have accepted the Good News proclaimed in his name during the past hundred years.

He prayed for those who profess their faith in him and are handing on his Gospel to others.

In his priestly prayer, Jesus prayed for all who would believe in him until the end of time. He embraced all people and all nations in that prayer, just as he embraced them in the Redemption that was accomplished through his Cross and Resurrection.

5. Together with you today I wish to give thanks and praise to the Most Holy Trinity because the people of Papua New Guinea belong to God. They are a people redeemed by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ. I give thanks because you belong to the community of Christ's Church, because you are one in union with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, just as Christ in his priestly prayer prayed that yου would be : "That they may all be one ; even as yοu, Father, are in me, and I in yοu, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that yοu have sent me ... and have loved them even as yοu have loved me"[8].

I pray that this divine love will be ever more revealed in yοu and among yοu; that it will lead you safely into the future; that it will enable yοu to walk through this life here on earth—and what a beautiful earth you do have around you—never losing sight of eternal life and eternal communion with God.

In this way, "the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God"[9] will be fully realized and become visible in the life of each one of yοu and in the whole of humanity—that eternal design which the Father "has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord"[10].


[1] 2 Cor 13:13.

[2] Eph 3:6.

[3] Ibid. 3:8-9.

[4] Ibid. 3:11-12.

[5] Jn 17:11.

[6] Ibid. 17:17-19.

[7] Cf. ibid. 17:20.

[8] Jn 17:21. 23.

[9] Eph 3:9.

[10] Ibid. 3:11.

 

 

Copyright 1984 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

 

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