Undoubtedly, Christ the King is one of the most beautiful solemnities of the year. And to celebrate it in Papua New Guinea is not only beautiful but also different.
This is how we celebrated it: everyone (about 600 people or so) accompanied a beautiful image of our Lord, which they had put on a canoe, and the canoe was carried on their shoulders. Why a canoe? Because the first missionaries came to this land in canoes on the 4th of March 1961, and thus Jesus himself had in a certain manner come to these lands in a canoe. It has been just 53 years since they came to know Jesus, and from that time on, every year on this feast day they celebrate Him as their own king. The words of the Apostle in the Book of Revelation come to mind: when speaking of Our Lord, he says that by His sacrifice on the cross, he has purchased “men from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
All the parishes and coastal tribes got together to celebrate this festival together, while the missionaries in the jungle had to stay in their places of assignment, because they would have had to walk for a few days if they wanted to come here.
The Mass was celebrated by the Bishop, who confirmed about 150 children, of whom 79 were from our 5 tribes. In the photo below I am with the children from Wutung, the furthest tribe of our parish; they had to make a great effort to reach the site of the Mass.
We are very grateful to God for this day, and we pray for the perseverance of these children.
Fr. Thomas Ravaioli, IVE