Tribal Papua New Guineans of Melanesian race came in contact with the external world when Montfort Missionaries from Canada arrived in the late 1950’s. Since then the church in this remote and undeveloped part of the world has brought faith, health and education to the people. Today the Catholic population is around 40,000 and makes up approximately 42% of the total population of the state.
The Church began its work in the remote villages by establishing schools and primary health clinics which have brought considerable improvement in the quality of life of the people. To this day the government of PNG works with the diocese to provide for the basic health and educational needs of the people. The area has few transportation facilities and depends on small planes to transport essential medical supplies and other necessities. In the absence of telephones, electricity and roads our only means of communication between parishes and the diocesan headquarters is two way radio.
A very vibrant and energetic Church has emerged here over the past 40 years due to the hard work of the innumerable missionaries, some of whom have given all their working years in the service of these simple, yet happy and welcoming people. Having emerged in the post Vatican period the diocese promotes the Spirituality of Communion among all its faithful thus involving them in the decision making from the grass roots level.
One of the main challenges before the diocese is to raise enough funds to continue all these services in the formation of faith as well as other humanitarian and developmental activities. It is with the help of Catholics from Canada, the United States and Germany that the diocese has been able to accomplish so much over these years.
In 1996 the people of the diocese were asked to share what they saw that was good and what help was needed while they were “on the journey.” The statement below is their dream for the Church in the Daru-Kiunga diocese.
“We would like our Church to be a true picture of the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke about, where all people love one another like God: Father, Son and Spirit love each other.
With the bishop as our leader, working with the priests and their helpers, all of us would share our talents to make our Church strong and walk together as one people of God. The Diocese of Daru-Kiunga is a part of all the People of God. It is a Melanesian community that is alive and made of many different people who want to be one.”