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Poetry and modesty at 50-year Mass

Golden celebration for priesthood anniversaries

Catholics greet the two half-centenarians Catholics greet the two half-centenarians
  • Stefanus Tartono, Sleman
  • Indonesia
  • September 9, 2011
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As he celebrates the 50th anniversary of his priesthood at the age of 76, Bishop Blasius Pujaraharja of Ketapang in West Kalimantan, is entitled to wax poetical.

“The sun of my life is entering its bedchamber," he said. "I no longer can shine and serve with all my strength like I used to do. Yet I want to make my life and priesthood more meaningful so that many people can feel it.”

The words came in a speech to priests, brothers, nuns and seminarians at a Holy Mass in the chapel of the St Paul Major Seminary in Yogyakarta this week. The Mass was led by Archbishop Johannes Maria Trilaksyanta Pujasumarta of Semarang, Central Java, with the theme Gratias Agimus Tibi - We Give You Thanks.

It was a double celebration as it also marked the golden priesthood anniversary of Monsignor Valentinus Kartosiswoyo. Both men were ordained priests on September 9, 1961, in Yogyakarta’s Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

In recognition of his services, the title of Prelate of Honor of His Holiness was conferred upon Monsignor Kartosiswoyo. In his illustrious career he has served as a lecturer in Pastoral and Canon Law at the Institute of Philosophy and Theology, rector of the seminary, judicial vicar of the archdiocese of Semarang, vicar general of the diocese of Bogor in West Java, defensor vinculi - defender of the bond - of the archdiocese of Jakarta, executive secretary of the bishops’ conference, and chairman of the Unio Indonesia.

Yet he accepted this latest honor with a modesty that typifies him. “Not every priest can celebrate his 50th priesthood anniversary,” he said. “But I do not see it as an achievement. It is all because of the divine blessing given to me.”

His simplicity complemented the lyricism of Bishop Pujaraharja, who went on to say, “I will make my life and priesthood radiant as beautiful as the sunset panorama. My priesthood remains beautiful for the glory of God and for the sake of many people.”

He acknowledged that he had faced spiritual, physical and psychic challenges in the course of his mission. There were also many dangers in the land, sea and air. “I should have been broken now,” he said. “But I am still good, because God is always with me and gives me strength and joy.”

Related Report:

Bishop marks 40 years of service
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