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Indonesian Catholics gear up for virtual Easter celebration

Some 1,627 Indonesian Catholic missionaries and laypeople are expected to join the program from 70 countries

Indonesian Catholics gear up for virtual Easter celebration

Indonesian Catholics celebrate the Easter Vigil at St. Joseph Parish Church in East Jakarta this year. (Photo: Katharina R. Lestari/UCA News)

Published: May 07, 2022 01:15 AM GMT

Updated: May 07, 2022 01:17 AM GMT

More than 1,600 Indonesia Catholics from 70 countries will participate in the first virtual Easter celebration to be organized by five Catholic groups.

The May 7 event is a joint collaboration between the Association of Catholic Journalists in Indonesia, the Indonesian Missionaries, the Association of Indonesian Religious Men and Women in Rome, the Indonesian Catholic Families Network, and the Association of Indonesian Catholic Intellectuals.

The Indonesian Embassy to the Holy See will sponsor the program, which will be held via Zoom with the theme “Indonesia to the Continents.”

One of the organizers, Albertus Magnus Putut Prabantoro, said some 1,627 Indonesian Catholic missionaries and laypeople from various countries including Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Myanmar, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam have registered for the program.

The event will start with a special Mass led by Rome-based Indonesian priest Father Leonardus Mali.

“We want to show our care for Indonesian missionaries. We want to be their friends along their journey so that they will never feel alone,” Prabantoro told UCA News on May 6.

“Pope Francis firmly refers to Indonesia as islands of vocation. As a consequence, in this context, Indonesia does not only mean the Indonesian Catholic Church but also the Indonesian nation as a whole”

He quoted Pope Francis’ message delivered during the Eucharistic celebration with members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life in February.

“Pope Francis firmly refers to Indonesia as islands of vocation. As a consequence, in this context, Indonesia does not only mean the Indonesian Catholic Church but also the Indonesian nation as a whole,” he said.

Father Mali, an adviser to the program, said Indonesian missionaries and Catholic laypeople living overseas “are an inseparable part of Indonesian national elements.”

“They are ‘Indonesian ambassadors’ who promote the Indonesian cultural values such as diversity and harmony as well as the Christian values related to the Indonesian culture on their mission lands,” he said.

“And this is an affirmation of the Indonesian Catholic Church’s main part of civilization which builds a common home named Indonesia.”

Frans Simarmata, an Indonesian Catholic based in Australia and coordinator of the Indonesian Catholic Families Network, said the program in the Indonesian language will meet the spiritual need of Indonesian Catholic laypeople living overseas.

Divine Word Father Baltasar Lukem, an Indonesian missionary based in Russia, said the Easter celebration is a significant event that will boost Indonesian missionaries across the globe.

“This will be a moment for Indonesian missionaries who serve in various countries to meet with each other and to strengthen each other. This will also be a moment for them to share witnesses,” he said.

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