Parishioners of St John the Baptist praying outdoors
Catholics from St. John the Baptist Church in Parung, West Java, have ignored local government fears over their security and are pressing ahead with Holy Week services on Church land in the parish.
“We will celebrate Holy Week observances [on our land]. We will not move to another place,” Father Bartholomeus Gatot Wotoseputro, the parish priest, said today.
During a meeting on Tuesday, Bogor government officials, the local Ulema Council and the Forum for Religious Harmony urged the Catholics to celebrate Holy Week services in Telaga Kahuripan, 10 kilometers outside their parish.
The local government cited security issues as being behind the request, which the Catholics rejected.
The parish, which has about 3,000 Catholics, bought the land in 1991, but no building permit has been issued yet despite an application being submitted in 2000.
For their daily ministerial needs, a chapel, rectory and parish secretariat have been built, while Sunday Masses are celebrated in a tent.
Since 2008, the parishioners have faced threats by Muslims from outside the area for celebrating Christmas and Easter.
Hendrik Massan Nena, who attended the recent meeting, said parishioners will go ahead with Holy Week celebrations.
He said they have asked local police to offer protection during the Holy Week observances.
Catholics celebrate Holy Week despite protest
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