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Indonesian bishop appeals for more priests

Youth commission chief challenges young people to have the courage to answer God's calling

Indonesian bishop appeals for more priests

The head of the Indonesian bishops’ Commission for Youth, Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang. (Photo supplied)

The head of the Indonesian bishops’ Commission for Youth has called on young Catholics to take up church vocations.

Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang issued the call in an April 25 letter to mark the World Day of Vocations and to try an address a shortage of people entering the country’s seminaries.

He quoted Pope Francis’ 2019 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive) and said that young people “are for God” and “God has decided that they should also be for others.”

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“He has given you many qualities, inclinations, gifts and charisms that are not for you, but to share with those around you. He calls you, young friends, to share his love even through special vocations by becoming priests as well as religious brothers and sisters,” the West Kalimantan prelate said.

Referring to the Year of St. Joseph proclaimed last year by the pope, he called on young people to pursue a religious path by following the exemplary life of St. Joseph and look upon him as “a figure who is very close to our humanity.”

Pope Francis proclaimed Dec. 8, 2020, to Dec. 8, 2021, as the Year of St. Joseph to mark the 150th anniversary of the saint being declared patron of the universal Church.

You should have big dreams in your life, and the biggest one is love — to love and to be loved

“St. Joseph’s exemplary life strengthens young people’s hearts so that they can leave behind their doubts and feelings of fear and reluctance and start to say ‘yes’ to God’s call,” Bishop Prapdi said.

In his letter, he encouraged young people to dare to dream, to move forward and to sit in silence.

“Dare to dream, young friends. No one tells you to stop dreaming. You should have big dreams in your life, and the biggest one is love — to love and to be loved,” he said.

He also said young people must have the courage to move forward to make their biggest dream come true. “The world is not always friendly. Sometimes it is like ‘a frightening dark cloud,’ particularly when it offers difficulties.”

“Sit in silence and ask yourself: ‘Who am I?,’ ‘What is my strength and weakness?,’ ‘Can I better serve the Church and the world?’”

Like many other countries around the world, Indonesia has a shortage of priests or people taking up church vocations, according to Father Joseph Kristanto Suratman, head of the Indonesian bishops’ Seminary Commission.

“The number of priests is never enough,” he said, adding that a priest can currently serve about 5,000 Catholics.

“We will continue to face a shortage of priests in the future if nothing is done now,” he added.

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