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About this commemoration
New Guinea, the second largest island in the world, is still one of the main frontiers of Christian mission, because of its difficult terrain and the cultural diversity of its peoples, who speak some 500 distinct languages. Christian missionaries first began work there in the 1860s and 1870s, with only limited success. The Anglican mission began in 1891, and the first bishop was consecrated in 1898.
During World War II, the suffering of missionaries and of native people was severe. This feast day, observed in the Diocese of New Guinea and in many dioceses of the Church of Australia, marks the witness of eight missionaries and two Papuan martyrs, who were betrayed by non-Christians to the Japanese invaders. But the day also includes remembrance of the faith and devotion of Papuan Christians of all Churches, who risked their own lives to care for the wounded, and to save the lives of many who otherwise would have perished.
I. Almighty God, we remember before thee this day the blessed martyrs of New Guinea, who, following the example of their Savior, laid down their lives for their friends; and we pray thee that we, who honor their memory, may imitate their loyalty and faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II. Almighty God, we remember before you this day theblessed martyrs of New Guinea, who, following the example of their Savior, laid down their lives for their friends; and we pray that we who honor their memory may imitate their loyalty and faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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