“We will bow to no regime that refuses to bow to God.” In 1951, just a few hours after uttering these words to the Catholic faithful in Prague‘s St. Vitus Cathedral, Archbishop Josef Beran of Prague was abducted by the secret police and interned for the next 16 years. Thousands of priests and religious in what was then Czechoslovakia shared a similar fate and suffered in prisons and labor camps.
The Solomon Islands are an island group in the South Pacific, some 450 miles east of Papua New Guinea and some 1,250 miles to the northeast of Australia. Once its inhabitants were fierce headhunters, but today almost all of them are Christians. Most belong to various Protestant communities, but some 20% are Catholics.
The Diocese of Rio Branco covers a vast area of over 40,000 square miles in the west of Brazil, with large areas lying in the rainforest. It is an impenetrable region of great distances, with many places accessible only by river boat. There is a grave shortage of priests here.