Collection MS 1425 - Selected Archives from the Catholic Bishop's Office in Kavieng

History of the Diocese of Kavieng and related papers Outcomes of various meetings, 1969 - 1971 Papers relating to history of Kavieng churches Papers relating to history of Kavieng churches and various accounts of life in New Ireland Booklet marking 25th anniverary of the MSC Novitiate Matanatava and Australian War Crimes Commission Papers relating to Kavieng Diocese including Australian Television Services in the Pacific and th... Appointment of Bishop Alfred Stemper and associated papers Conference between the Missions of the Territory and the Administration, Port Moresby, 20 Oct 1961 Agreement between Employers Federation of PNG and the New Ireland workers Kavieng Independence Program, September 14-16, 1975
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AU PMB MS 1425


Selected Archives from the Catholic Bishop's Office in Kavieng


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Administrative history

The Diocese of Kavieng encompasses the two provinces of Manus and New Ireland. Out of a total population of 96,000 about 45,000 are Catholic. Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) arrived in New Britain in 1882. By the turn of the century, evangelisation had begun in New Ireland, and ten years later the first missionary priests reached Manus. In both cases, Catechists preceded the missionaries. By 1935 parishes had been founded throughout the two major islands of Manus and New Ireland and on most of the larger adjacent islands.

During World War II/WWII the Vicariate of Rabaul lost over 40 priests and 40 brothers, and most buildings in many parishes were destroyed. After the War came a new influx of missionaries from the German, Irish, and American provinces of the MSC. Schools, churches, convents and health centres were quickly rebuilt from scrap materials salvaged from installations left by the American forces. At the same time, the mission made a strong commitment to education and began training large numbers of local teachers.

In 1957 Kavieng was separated from Rabaul and made a Vicariate under Bishop Alfred Stemper, MSC. In 1966 Kavieng and other Vicariates were made Dioceses, and more conscious attention was given to the development of the local church. The first two national priests from Kavieng Diocese were ordained in 1968.

Bishop Stemper retired in 1981, handing over the Diocese to the care of Bishop Hesse. Bishop Stemper died in Kavieng on 20 February 1984.
Transportation and communication remain the main difficulties due to the size of the Diocese (136kms square).

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This collection includes selected archives from the Catholic bishop’s office in Kavieng, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. Papers describe the history of the Catholic Church in Kavieng, including meeting and conference papers, along with other official documentation. It also includes accounts of church personnel around and during World War II. This collection also includes documentation relating to the Australian Television Service, Australian War Crimes Commission, 1975 Independence Programme for Kavieng and the Catholic Handbook for PNG. See individual items for more detailed descriptions of content.

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Archive at the Bishop’s Office, Kavieng Diocese, Kavieng, New Ireland Province, PNG.

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Keywords: World War Two, World War 2, World War II, WWII, WW2, W.W.II, W.W.2, Second World War, 2nd World War, Pacific War

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Uploaded by Kari James 2 October 2019

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