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Indonesian bishop calls on youths to help virus-hit poor

More can be done to help others in need stay safe, Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang says

Indonesian bishop calls on youths to help virus-hit poor

Catholic youths from Denpasar Diocese are seen with used plastic paint buckets which they have turned into containers for hand washing. (Photo supplied by Merry Rosari Kurniawati Weo)

The head of the commission for youth at the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference has issued “a letter of love” calling on Catholic youths to be more creative in the fight against Covid-19. 

In the letter, a copy of which was received by UCA News on March 31, Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang in West Kalimantan province reminded young people to observe the usual protocols of staying at home, conducting meetings online and physical distancing.

“By doing so, you help medical workers to focus on their service to those who need serious medical treatment,” he said.

He also called on them to be more creative in finding ways of helping others who are more vulnerable because of the virus.

“Pay attention to your surroundings, do whatever you can do to protect yourself as well as your family and use your means of communication to help others meet their needs. For example, get the elderly, the disabled and poor people access to free meals,” he said.

“Never leave someone unattended and never let someone feel ignored in this difficult time.” 

Bishop Prapdi also urged Catholic youths to become “protagonists.” 

“In this critical time, let us stop for a while to reflect again on what have we done for ourselves, surroundings, the Church and the international community,” he said.

“It is time for you to do something for the world. The physical limit is not an obstacle. With creativity, young people can become leaders in this situation and can pass through this critical time together.” 

Febrianti Christian, 25, from Jakarta, said the bishop’s letter has encouraged her to do more for people adversely affected by Covid-19.

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“I’ve been helping motorcycle taxi drivers by ordering food for them through a food delivery application. Now I am thinking of something else to help others,” she told UCA News.

For Merry Rosari Kurniawati Weo, 23, from Denpasar in Bali province, the bishop’s letter helped spur her into action. 

“As a member of a young people’s community in my parish, I help others by sharing important information about self-protection from the virus. I also help my parish’s team in livestreaming Masses,” she told UCA News.

She also said Catholic youths in Denpasar Diocese have made containers for hand washing from used plastic paint buckets and placed them in many locations in the city. 

As of March 31, Indonesia had 1,528 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 136 deaths. 

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