UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Indonesian Catholics recall St John Paul II's ecumenical spirit
Pope's 1989 visit helped foster interfaith dialogue
- Katharina R. Lestari and Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
- April 29, 2014
Indonesian Catholics recalled St John Paul II as a man whose ecumenical spirit served as a foundation for harmony among the country's different religions.
The pope, while visiting Indonesia in 1989, repeatedly reminded Indonesians that freedom of religion was a fundamental human right and called for a "respectful dialogue" among all Indonesia’s religions.
That call for dialogue still influences the world's most populous Muslim nation, said Franciscan Father Robertus Agung Suryanto of St Paschal Parish in Jakarta.
"For Indonesia, I think St John Paul II serves as the foundation of dialogue between the Catholic Church and other religions. His personal influence is huge," he told ucanews.com.
John Paul and Pope John XXIII were elevated to sainthood on Sunday by Pope Francis in a Vatican ceremony. Their elevation to sainthood was commemorated in Indonesia on Monday with a Mass celebrated in Jakarta's Miniature Park attended by 1,600 people.
Mercy Sister Vincentia said she remembered the pope as being an "ambassador of peace".
"When he came to Indonesia, religious leaders welcomed him too. He could hold a dialogue with other religions," she said.
Theophilus Bela, chairman of the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum, said St John Paul II's Indonesian visit encouraged Catholics to actively seek a dialogue with their Muslim neighbors.
"His visit strengthened us to embrace our brothers and sisters from other religions. Such spirit is in the hearts of Catholics now … they commit to building a good relation with the majority group, like Muslims, even though it is not easy," he said.
St John Paul II made a five-day trip to Indonesia in October 1989, visiting the capital, Jakarta, as well as Yogyakarta, East Nusa Tenggara, and the then Indonesian province of East Timor.