Paul reads from Mark’s Gospel (1: 14-20) in which the Jesus begins preaching the Good News saying the Kingdom of God is close at hand. After the gospel reading, Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St Peter Chanel.
Fr Paul says St Peter Chanel, who was born in France at Cuet in 1803, was a priest for three years when he was accepted by the Marists, who were a missionary order. Peter Chanel was then sent to evangalise the island of Futuna in the Pacific. The local ruler at the time was Niuliki and all went well, at first, with this new endeavor. Peter Chanel made many converts. He learned the local language and he gained the confidence of the people.
However, the ruler, Niuliki, became jealous and fearful and the baptism of his son and his son’s friends became the last straw. When Peter Chanel’s friends were away, Niuliki had a group of men club Peter Chanel to death. His mission had lasted three years. He is the first martyr of the South Seas.
So, on this memorial of St Peter Chanel, Fr Paul says, we ask that he pray for us.