Papuan pilgrimage retraces missionaries' steps

Pilgrims cross damaged bridge

Catholics in Papua New Guinea have honoured the evangelisation, 80 years ago, of the remote interior of the nation's main island by making a pilgrimage in the steps of its first missionaries, reports the Catholic News Agency.

'After 80 years, the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen felt it is time to say thank you and to acknowledge all the blessings from God through the missionaries,' said Paul Petrus, a social researcher and a layman of Papua New Guinea, in an interview this week with CNA.

Some 500 Catholics, including three priests and nine seminarians, trekked through the mountainous highlands of New Guinea from March 28 until April 13, Palm Sunday.
They began in the vicinity of Madang, on the coast, and arrived at the Mount Hagen chancery, where they were greeted by Archbishop Douglas Young, who told them: 'The pilgrimage was sign of a family walking together and sharing the Gospel, as a Church alive in Christ.'

The Wahgi Valley, in which Mount Hagen is located, was unknown to Westerners until aerial reconnaissance discovered it in 1933. The following year, Divine Word Missionaries travelled to the Highlands to evangelise its native inhabitants. They were commissioned by the vicar apostolic of Eastern New Guinea, who was himself a member of the Society of the Divine Word.

Photo: The pilgrims cross a damaged bridge near Dei, Papua New Guinea

FULL STORY Papuans make two week pilgrimage in missionaries' steps (CNA)

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