The statue of Tuan Ma or Blessed Mother in a procession during the Holy Week festival in Larantuka, East Nusa Tenggara. (Photo by Melkhior Koli Baran)
Thousands of Catholics attended Holy Week festivities in the capital of the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara and according the diocese's bishop the event can bring benefits to the local area.
Bishop Franciscus Kopong Kung of Larantuka said the event attracts thousands of Catholics, locally and from abroad each year.
Among those participating were Catholics from Timor-Leste, Portugal and Poland who joined the five-century-old festival, which is locally called Semana Santa.
Over 5,000 people attended Good Friday festivities alone in the predominantly Catholic province.
Bishop Kung said the popularity of the festival has created religious tourism for the area from which the locals can benefit.
"Through Semana Santa, the local church can embrace other parties to take part as well. The local church can work together with the local government to make this traditional festival a 'people's pilgrimage' or 'religious tourism,'" the prelate said.
The statue of Tuan Ma or Blessed Mother after being placed in a chapel in Larantuka, the capital of the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara. (Photo by Melkhior Koli Baran)
Religious tourism, he said, can also help improve the local people's life.
"So it is not about the celebration itself but also the whole aspect of the local people's daily life," Bishop Kung added.
Semana Santa usually starts on the Wednesday of Holy Week, which this year fell on March 20. The event saw the city's main roads closed as people began their prayers. On Holy Thursday, pilgrims visited three different chapels, where statues of Tuan Ma (Blessed Mother) and TuanMeninu (Baby Jesus) and TuanAnna (Jesus) were placed.
Semana Santa reached its peak on Good Friday. On this day, a 30-minute sea procession took place in the morning. A statue of Tuan Meninu was taken onboard a traditional boat to meet Tuan Ma, which was placed in a separate chapel. Pilgrims followed the voyage.
….As we enter the first months of 2022, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.