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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 31) - The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands has decided to mark September 2 each year as a Remembrance Day for the war martyrs of the two countries.

Announcing this yesterday, Archbishop William Kurtz SVD, The Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops Conference said from 1942 until 1945 many church workers died witnessing to the Christian faith.

"These people include foreign missionaries who refused to leave their posts when the country was threatened with invasion and died. They include many local people who gave their lives."

"During the 60 years since World War II, the Catholic Church has remembered the lives of the many war martyrs. These include the Blessed Peter To Rot, Catholic catechist and martyr executed in Rakunai, East New Britain, whose life is celebrated in July.

"They include the lives of missionaries, Catholic and Protestant, executed on the Japanese destroyer, Akikaze, as it sailed from Kavieng to Rabaul. Included were the missionaries of many faiths from many countries who died during those years.

"Their sacrifices are recognized with gratitude by the Catholic community," said the vice-president.

The Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea celebrates the lives of the mission martyrs each year on 2 September. In July this year the Catholic Bishops of PNG and Solomon Islands decided that Catholics would also devote the 2nd of September each year as a special day of remembrance for the war martyrs.

"On September 2 Catholics throughout the two countries will be asked to remember in prayer and reflect on the lives of these people who gave so much for the Christian faith," said Archbishop Kurtz.

September 1, 2004

The National:

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