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Neglect 'hampering youth group growth'

East Java Catholic youths pledge to move forward despite poor support from Church

Delegates at the gathering in Surabaya Delegates at the gathering in Surabaya
  • Parulian Tinambunan, Surabaya
  • Indonesia
  • March 7, 2011
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A priest in charge of laity formation in Indonesia’s Surabaya diocese admits a lack of Church support is hindering the growth of Catholic youth organizations in the area.

“These young people need to be monitored by priests more so that they can have spiritual guidance,” Father Antonius Luluk Widyawan said after a March 5 meeting of 60 members of the Catholic Youth Organization held in Surabaya city in East Java.

The Union of Catholic Students of the Republic of Indonesia which has a branch in the city also faces a similar situation.

The diocese is focusing too much of its attention on its new 10-year pastoral programs, Father Widyawan said.

“This is what the diocese wants to implement. The diocese does not want to ignore the laity. However, this is indirectly having an impact on Catholic youths,” he said.

“There is still a chance for us [priests and youths] to work together,” he maintained.

Father Widyawan also lamented a lack of knowledge of Catholic teaching among the young.

“Frankly speaking, they have little knowledge of Catholic teaching. They do not know what to say when they are asked about it. This is probably also the fault of the Church hierarchy, which fails to educate them properly,” he added, saying that the laity has a duty to proclaim the Good News.

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