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After near-death experience, Indonesian woman reflects

At Divine Mercy pilgrimage in Padang Diocese, Catholics pray for healing

Windy Subanto, Padang

Windy Subanto, Padang

Published: March 09, 2016 07:05 AM GMT

Updated: March 09, 2016 09:20 AM GMT

After near-death experience, Indonesian woman reflects

Indonesian Catholics in Padang participate in a Divine Mercy pilgrimage in St. Theresa Cathedral. (Photo by Windy Subanto)

Maria Sri Wahyuni's life chaged abruptly five years ago after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

A series of chemotherapy treatments followed, moments that she described as her "near-death experience."

Today, the 48-year-old is healthy, and felt grateful to participate in Padang Diocese's "24-hour moment with God" pilgrimage March 4 and 5.

As part of the event the doors to St. Theresa's Cathedral in West Sumatra remained open so that Indonesians could reflect on the Divine Mercy.

"God has showed me his mercy, through people that visited and prayed for me during my troubled days," Wahyuni told ucanews.com.

Wahyuni, who comes from a Muslim family background, and her husband Silvester Samidi have been active in the faith formation of children and teenagers at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Padangbaru.

For her, recovery from cancer represents a second chance to live, and the pilgrimage was a moment for her to reintegrate and rekindle her life to the service of the church.


Pilgrims pray before a statue of Mary outside St. Theresa Cathedral in Padang, Indonesia. (Photo by Windy Subanto)

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Father Hendrikus Ngambut Oba told pilgrims that the opening of the cathedral door indicated two things: God's mercy that forgives all sins and human heart that has to open for divine mercy.

"After we walk through this door, we receive God's Mercy and at the same time — like God — we should also be merciful to others," Father Oba said.

Franciscan Sister Yosefa Sumariyah, who led a group from St. Peter Claver parish in Bukittinggi, said she prayed for all those who have been wounded in their lives.

"I bring all those problems to God, with the hope that God heals them," Sister Sumariyah told ucanews.com.

Father Alexander Irwan Suwandi, vicar general of Padang diocese, noted that the pilgimage drew many more people that had originally been anticipated.

"The enthusiasm of Catholics during the pilgrimage was a big surprise, beyond our prediction," said Father Suwandi.

"We even did not have enough priests to hear confessions," he said. Only 13 priests were involved, hence some processions were delayed, because there was a long queue of people going to confession, he said.

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