The feast day of Bl. Peter To Rot is celebrated on July 7. Peter was born in 1912 in Rakunai which today is Papua, New Guinea. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus taught Peter while he was young. At the age of 18 Peter became a student at St. Paul’s College to become a catechist. His prayer life and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament grew. After three years he was asked to return to Rakunai to teach. He was the youngest catechist at the age of 21. He also visited the sick.
St. Peter To Rot married and had six children. In 1941 the war came to Rakunai and the Japanese invaded their country. The missionaries were sent to prison camp. When the priest, Father Laufer was taken he left Peter in charge asking him to look after the people and not to let them forget about God. Peter willingly accepted the challenge. He visited the sick and prayed with those who were dying. He taught both the children and the adults. He told the people,
“This is a very bad time for us and we are all afraid. But God our Father is with us and looking after us. We must pray and ask him to stay with us always.”
When the bombing increased they decided it would be safer to meet in small groups,. They met in caves to pray. When the Japanese began to lose the war they forbid the people from praying. They threatened them with imprisonment.
Peter continued to lead the people in prayer. The Japanese encouraged men to take a second wife. Peter objected to this and insisted that the people follow the Churches teaching on marriage. He protected several women from being forced to become a second wife. When the Japanese learned of all that Peter To Rot was doing they arrested him. They searched the caves and his home. They took his books, Bible and crucifixes. His two brothers were also arrested. He was sentenced to two months in prison. He was not, however, released. He was murdered while he was in prison. It is believed he was poisoned with cyanide.
Peter To Rot was buried in the new cemetery next to the church he had served. He is considered a martyr for his faith.
Bl. Peter To Rot was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995.
“The Japanese cannot stop us loving God and obeying laws! We must be strong and we must refuse to give in to them.”
Quote of Bl. Peter To Rot
July is the Month of the Most Precious Blood