Jakarta Archdiocese declares 2020 as Year of Social Justice

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo calls on Catholics to be more fraternal and compassionate
Jakarta Archdiocese declares 2020 as Year of Social Justice

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta (second right) poses for a photo with three priests next to a 'Homeless Jesus' sculpture at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral Church in Jakarta on Jan. 4. (Photo: Andreas Ramli/Jakarta Archdiocese)

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta has declared 2020 as the Year of Social Justice and stressed the need for Catholics to continue to renew themselves throughout the year.

He announced the special year during a homily at an evening Mass on Jan. 4 at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral Church in Jakarta.

Jakarta Archdiocese serves 66 parishes in the capital and nearby provinces.

The cardinal said the special year will focus one of the country’s five principles — social justice for all citizens — enshrined in Indonesia’s national ideology Pancasila.

The other principles are a belief in one God, a just and civilized society, a united Indonesia and democracy guided by consensus. 

Previous special years have focused on other principles with 2018 being the Year of Unity.

“In this Year of Social Justice, we must continue to renew ourselves. We need to show the dynamic of being more faithful, being more fraternal, being more compassionate. This must be sharpened continually so as to prevent it from becoming blunt,” Cardinal Suharyo said.

He pointed to something he saw at a parish church in Yogyakarta province as an example. 

“I saw something I have never seen in any parish served by Jakarta Archdiocese. Toddlers and children, after receiving a blessing from a priest following Holy Communion, put coins in a coin box … for social service. This was special and can be a model for Jakarta Archdiocese,” he said.

To mark the special year, Cardinal Suharyo unveiled a ”Homeless Jesus” sculpture in the grounds of the cathedral church.

The sculpture was the work of Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, who said he was inspired by a homeless man sleeping on a bench one Christmas.

“Just like homeless people who sleep in fields and city squares, Jesus represents himself as hungry, poor and imprisoned people,” Cardinal Suharyo said.

In a world of social justice, people should not be without shelter, he said.

The declaration of the new year was mentioned in the prelate’s pastoral letter read out during Masses on Jan. 4-5 in all parishes served by the archdiocese.

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