Hierarchy celebrates fifty years
Church celebrates golden anniversary in Indonesia
Capuchin Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang of Padang, president of Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, called the journey of the past fifty years “the result of synergy between hierarchy and laity.”
“The local Church has grown not because of the bishops or priests alone, but the entire Catholic people,” Bishop Situmorang said, emphasizing the large contribution made by laypeople to the hierarchy.
The laity contributed significantly to the hierarchy, based on their expertise. Besides, their involvement in various spiritual and pastoral services and financial support have eased the work on the part of the hierarchy.
The Indonesian Church as an institution was made official with the issuance of "Quod Christus Adorandus" by Pope John XXIII on January 3, 1961, nine months after the Bishops Council sent its petition letter.
Since papal approval fifty years ago, the institution has developed into a mature community and has been able to have local pastoral workers (clergy and laity) that support the growth as a “true Church of Christ.”
Another reason to be grateful is that in the past fifty years it has been an integral part of a multi-cultural society and known for its slogan “100 percent Catholic and 100 percent Indonesia.”
At last year’s synod, the Indonesian Bishops Conference allowed each diocese to celebrate thanksgiving at their own discretion.
Over the last 50 years the number of Church workers, especially priests, nuns, bishops, and members of religious congregations, has increased significantly.
The Indonesian Church has good reason to thank God “for continuously choosing men and women to serve His people. We also thank Catholic families.”
As of today the number of Catholics in the country has grown to 6,793,788, living in ten archdioceses and 27 dioceses. They are ministered to by ten archbishops, 26 bishops, six emeritus bishops, and 3,669 priests (1,724 diocesan priests and 1,945 religious priests).
The hierarchy has been recognized by Indonesian society for its constant efforts to maintain harmony, pluralism and continuous dialogue with other religions and cultures.
Indonesian bishops, in their own ways, also emphasized their commitment to protecting the environment, social justice and other social responsibilities.
The hierarchy plays a significant role in motivating Catholics to go out and practise their faith in society. In recent years, pastoral letters from the Bishops Conference addressing social issues have come not only from Catholics but also non-Catholic groups.
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