Indonesia prepares for Extraordinary Missionary Month

Church holds four-day national congress to foster missionary spirit and come up with plans to help needy
Indonesia prepares for Extraordinary Missionary Month

Participants take part in a group discussion at the National Missionary Congress in Jakarta from Aug. 1-4. (Photo by Katharina R. Lestari/ucanews.com)

Catholics in Indonesia are readying themselves for the Extraordinary Missionary Month (EMM), in October this year, with action plans drawn up after a four-day meeting in Jakarta.

More than 300 bishops, priests, nuns and Catholic laypeople from all 37 archdioceses and dioceses across the country attended the National Missionary Congress Aug. 1-4.

It was jointly organized by the Indonesian bishops’ Commission for Mission and the Indonesian Pontifical Mission Societies (IPMS) with the theme: Baptized and Sent: Evangelize the World.

The event comprised discussion and sharing sessions on how Catholics can help those in need.

Father Markus Nurwidi Pranoto, executive secretary of the commission and director of the IPMS, said the program was to prepare for the EMM announced earlier by Pope Francis to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud on The Propagation of The Faith Throughout The World, issued on Nov. 30, 1919.

Instituted officially by Pope Francis in a letter published on Oct. 22, 2017 and addressed to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the global theme of the EMM is “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.”

“This congress was aimed at fostering greater awareness of and to enliven the missionary spirit among Catholics, who are encouraged to realize that each baptized Catholic is a missioner and is sent to proclaim the Gospel to all creatures,” Father Pranoto told ucanews.com.

In homily during the closing Mass, commission chairman Holy Family Bishop Aloysius Maryadi Sutrisnaatmaka of Palangkaraya, stressed the need for participants to produce action plans on how to help others during October’s Extraordinary Missionary Month and beyond

Speaking to ucanews.com, Bishop Petrus Boddeng Timang of Banjarmasin, capital of South Kalimantan province said his diocese decided to pay more attention to Dayak Meratus and Banjar tribal people in South Kalimantan “who remain marginalized.”

“Dayak Meratus natives still lack clean water, toilets, and electricity. So, we will go see their situation first and then do something about it,” he said.

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