New Tanjung Selor bishop to focus on people development

Indonesian Bishop-elect Paulinus Yan Olla stresses need to promote education, fight trafficking ahead of his ordination
New Tanjung Selor bishop to focus on people development

Bishop-elect Paulinus Yan Olla said people's development is an important agenda for his diocese. (Photo is supplied by Tarsy Asmat)

The new bishop of Tanjung Selor in Indonesia's North Kalimantan province says people's development will be his main priority during his ministry.

Holy Family Bishop-elect Paulinus Yan Olla — whose episcopal appointment by Pope Francis was announced in mid-February, will be ordained bishop on May 5 in a field in Tanjung Selor, in Bulungan district.

Twenty-four bishops, more than 100 priests and about 3,000 Catholics were expected to attend the ordination ceremony.

"Human development is the main challenge, as many [low paid] Catholics work on palm oil plantations," Bishop Olla told ucanews.com on May 4.

He also said that raising education standards and awareness as to how important education is among the Dayak people — the largest tribal community in Kalimantan — was also a major concern.

Many Dayak children do not want to go to school and, instead, get married at a young age.

A general lack of understanding about the importance of education is the main reason, he said.

"In the near future, the diocese will encourage all related parties to try and overcome this challenge," the prelate said.

The diocese wants to provide young people with formation programs and also offer economic development programs to families. In addition, the catechetical program will be strengthened so that Catholics can better understand the meaning of "being the church."

The new bishop also said his diocese, which serves about 60,000 Catholics from 15 parishes, also faces significant problems resulting from environmental destruction and human trafficking. 

 It is reported that about 850,000 hectares in North Kalimantan is given over to palm oil plantations.

"The environmental [destruction] issue is related to big projects, such as palm oil plantations and mining," he said, adding that it is a challenge for Catholics to put Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato si' into practice.

Addressing human trafficking, he acknowledged that the diocese has long suffered from it. One parish is located in Nunukan, a transit point for migrant workers from Indonesia to Malaysia.

"It is some thing I will want to look at. I raised it when I met the governor to introduce myself a few days ago," he said.

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