They completed a two-year program of prayer, study and pastoral practice and are now ready to return to their communities to begin this important ministry.
There are only thirty priests serving in the diocese. There are thirty-one parishes (and pastoral areas) and almost 350 rural outstations in the diocese and so the ministry of catechist (and other lay ministries) is crucially important.
In some places, the ministry of a catechist is to teach Sunday school...which is important enough. However, in many mission countries, such as Papua New Guinea, the role of the catechist is even more necessary. The catechist's main ministry is to prepare people for the Sacraments. He or she also is trained to give a short reflection on the Scripture Readings at Communion Services on the occasions when the parish priest is not present on a given Sunday. (It is obvious that 30 priests cannot be in 350 outstations every Sunday!) Catechists also serve as leaders in the communities where they serve.
In Papua New Guinea, our only Blessed is Peter ToRot. He was a catechist and was martyred during the Second World War because of his defense of the Catholic Faith, especially regarding marriage and family life. The Catechist Training School in the Diocese of Mendi is under the patronage of Blessed Peter ToRot.
In the Holy Mass where they were commissioned, they received a crucifix, a Holy Bible, a Holy Rosary, a copy of the catechism and other resources. You and I can help them with our prayers as they begin their ministry in the mission fields of Papua New Guinea.