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Indonesia

Indonesian Church holds first-ever Virtual Youth Day

Special event was forced online because of the coronavirus pandemic

Indonesian Church holds first-ever Virtual Youth Day

Father Antonius Haryanto (top center), executive secretary of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference's Commission for Youth, joins a sharing program of the Virtual Youth Day celebrations held on Aug. 28-29. (Photo supplied)

The Indonesian Bishops’ Conference’s Commission for Youth held a Virtual Youth Day, the first of its kind in the country, at the weekend because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the theme “Berakar, Mekar dan Berbuah” (get rooted, bloom and bear fruit), the two-day program began on Aug. 28 with a concelebrated Mass led by the commission chairman, Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang.

Concelebrating the Mass at St. Gemma Galgani Cathedral in Ketapang city in West Kalimantan province was Father Fransiscus Suandi, head of Ketapang Diocese’s Commission for Youth.

The event was livestreamed on YouTube and attended by more than 5,000 young Catholics from across the country.

The second day of the program featured traditional songs, dances and sharing sessions.

“God never loses ways to love young people. Young people’s imagination and energy to be creative never end amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Their spirit to serve the Church and the nation remains high. Their desire to share joy and inspiration is unstoppable,” Bishop Prapbi said in his homily.

Referring to the program’s theme, the prelate asserted that young people were called to make life choices wisely by getting rooted, blooming and bearing fruit in Christ.

“To get rooted in Christ means that our life is sourced from Christ. To bloom in Christ means that we recognize our growth potential and challenges. To bear fruit in Christ means that we have grateful hearts which are capable of loving others,” he said.

Bishop Prapdi acknowledged that young people faced challenges concerning their jobs, studies, communities and health conditions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Use this momentum to continue to get rooted in Christ, to grow in faith and to bear fruit through services by using social media platforms,” he said.
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Since the first two Covid-19 cases were confirmed by the government in early March, Indonesia has recorded 172,053 Covid-19 cases and 7,343 deaths.

Speaking to UCA News on Aug. 30, Father Antonius Haryanto, executive secretary of the Commission for Youth, said he raised the idea of holding the Virtual Youth Day in late July.

“I had dreamed of a program which could meet young people’s desire to gather together and could serve as a medium of catechesis among them,” he said.

The priest also said livestreamed talk shows, which highlighted the program’s theme and presented priests, psychologists and young people, were organized before the program.

“I do hope that young people can become the main actors. Even though their activities are very limited amid the Covid-19 pandemic, they still can become visionary leaders who help the society or make breakthroughs possible,” Father Haryanto said.

Ronald Taemisa, a participant from the Archdiocese of Kupang, saw the first Virtual Youth Day as “a milestone.”

“We live in a modern world. We can positively use social media platforms to show the world that young people in Indonesia can do something useful for others,” he told UCA News.

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