At least 2,000 Catholics attended a Mass in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province to urge authorities not to allow a local beach, which many consider an area of outstanding beauty, to be developed.
The May 31 Mass was staged to oppose plans by an investment company to build hotels on a 4.2-hectare area of Pede Beach near Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai district.
The local government, seeking to promote tourism, recently granted the firm permission to develop the area.
"Small people want to feel God’s love and attention on Pede Beach, so protect this beach," Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng said in his homily during the Mass.
"Pede Beach is a green space for all people from different backgrounds. It isn’t only for the rich. So let's save this beach for the sake of harmony," he said.
The bishop said he wanted priests serving in all the parishes in the district to call on Catholics to visit the green space and enjoy its beauty.
Bishop Leteng promised to continue staging protests against the development plans.
"I'm ready to lead [protests] any time," he said.
Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng leads a procession to Pede Beach in Labuan Bajo, in East Nusa Tenggara province ahead of a Mass to oppose plans to build hotels on the beauty spot. (ucanews.com photo by Ferdinand Ambo)
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