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Indonesian parish gets church permit after 34-year wait

Catholics express gratitude to the governor for granting it a few days ahead of Christmas

Indonesian parish gets church permit after 34-year wait

Jakarta governor Anies Rasyied Baswedan (green shirt) and Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo at the groundbreaking ceremony of the parish church in West Jakarta on Dec. 21. (Photo: Screengrab from Christ’s Peace Parish’s YouTube channel)

Published: December 21, 2021 08:50 AM GMT

Updated: December 21, 2021 09:43 AM GMT

A parish in Indonesia’s Jakarta Archdiocese has finally received a building permit to construct a parish church after a 34-year struggle.

Jakarta governor Anies Rasyied Baswedan presented the permit to Christ’s Peace Parish in Tambora subdistrict during a groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 21.

The event, which was also livestreamed on the parish’s YouTube channel, was attended by Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta as well as members of the Interfaith Communication Forum and several government officials.

“We come from different backgrounds but we are united by a common goal. We live here in this republic because we want justice and welfare, and that is exactly why we are here today. We witness the groundbreaking ceremony for this parish church,” Baswedan said in his speech.

“Unity must be maintained … We hope that people living around this parish will also feel at peace. Parishioners and local people will respect each other. When we talk about unity, we refer to unity which is beyond ceremonial and accidental events,” he added

Cardinal Suharyo expressed his gratitude that the permit was granted by the governor just a few days ahead of Christmas Day.

It moves us. Moreover, the permit is granted just a few days ahead of Christmas Day when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus

“When Mr. Governor presents the permit, please see this as a mandate. A mandate for parishioners to play different roles in building various movements to promote fraternity,” the prelate said.

Sacred Heart Father Hironimus Ronny Dahua from Christ’s Peace Parish said parishioners had fought for the permit for 34 years.

“We had faced various experiences. But today, God sends you, Mr. Governor, to present and to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony. This is incredible,” he said.

“It moves us. Moreover, the permit is granted just a few days ahead of Christmas Day when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. And you proclaim the Good News prior to that,” the priest said.

Then Jesuit Archbishop Leo Sukoto of Jakarta established the parish in 1987. The parish, which was a mission station served by Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Gambir subdistrict, has held Sunday Masses and religious activities in a multipurpose hall belonging to a Catholic school foundation ever since due to lack of a building permit.

It was reported in 2013 that Christ’s Peace Parish was refused a permit after a now-banned hardline group, the Islamic Defenders Front, protested against the parish’s religious activities in the hall.

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