Sulawesi Priest Named To Head Diocese In Kalimantan

Indonesia
2008-06-20 19:17:11
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Father Petrus Boddeng Timang of Makassar archdiocese, in South Sulawesi province, as the new bishop of Banjarmasin, in South Kalimantan province. ij_banjarmasin_diocese.gifBishop-elect Timang succeeds Bishop Fransiskus Xaverius Rocharjanta Prajasuta, who will turn 77 in November. Canon law requires bishops to request retirement when they reach 75. Parishes in Banjarmasin and Makassar announced the news during Masses June 14-15. Bishop-elect Timang told UCA News on June 17 that Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Indonesia, informed him of the appointment by phone on June 8. "I was so surprised," he recalled. "Why me? I am turning 61, which is retirement age for an Indonesian." The Makassar priest admitted he is not familiar with Banjarmasin and has never been there. "Why not assign a person who is familiar with the area? There are many eligible priests?" he wondered. "But I finally accepted the appointment, since I did not see any reason to refuse it." On the nuncio´s request, the bishop-elect added, he went to Jakarta on June 12 to receive the pope´s appointment letter. Holy Family Bishop Prajasuta told UCA News on June 20 that he sees no problem with his successor not being from Banjarmasin diocese. "What we need is a heart to serve. I asked priests, Religious and Catholics of this diocese to welcome and cooperate with the new bishop in developing the Church," he said by phone from Banjarmasin, capital of South Kalimantan province, 900 kilometers north of Jakarta. Father Timang was born on July 7, 1947, in Malakiri, Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi, as the third of six children in a farming family. Sulawesi is the next major Indonesian island east of Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo Island. After finishing minor seminary in Makassar in 1966, he entered St. Paul Major Seminary in Yogyakarta, central Java. He was ordained a priest in 1974. He continued his studies at St. Thomas Aquinas University in Rome 1982-1986, where he earned a doctorate in spiritual theology. Coming back to Indonesia, he served as rector of Makassar archdiocese´s Anging Mammiri Major Seminary in Yogyakarta. Between this assignment and his appointment as rector of Makassar-based Catholic University of Atma Jaya in 1995, he served three years as parish priest of St. Francis Assisi Church in Makassar. Later he headed Our Lady of Fatima Church in Bulukumba 1999-2001 before being appointed parish priest of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar. Father Adrianus Jos van Rooy, episcopal vicar of archdiocese, describes Bishop-elect Timang as "capable." The Immaculate Heart of Mary priest told UCA News he hopes the new bishop will build good relations and cooperation with clergy and Religious. "Cooperation is necessary for the success of the local Church´s mission," the vicar stressed. Fransiska Hauw, 66, a Makassar cathedral parishioner, told UCA News she is happy her parish priest has been appointed a bishop. She also believes he is capable of handling the "heavy" duties. Randy Justhio, 62, deputy head of the cathedral´s pastoral council, affirmed: "Father Timang has strong pastoral experience. He maintains close relations with the faithful and always tries to solve problems thoroughly." According to the bishop-elect, his episcopal ordination will be held in September. He said he would spend his first 100 days as bishop visiting parishes and meeting clergy, Religious and laypeople. Apart from that, he said he plans to meet local authorities as well as non-Catholic social and religious leaders "to tell them the Church is not something alien, separate from local society." On June 18, he left for Banjarmasin and stayed one night at the bishop´s house. The next morning he celebrated Mass together with Bishop Prajasuta and several priests at the cathedral. After Mass he introduced himself to local Catholics in the hall of the bishop´s house. Banjarmasin diocese, with an area of 37,530 square kilometers, covers South Kalimantan. Four diocesan and 19 Religious priests served its 20,000 Catholics in nine parishes and 95 parish stations. Of the province´s 3,135,000 population, 89 percent are Muslims. The rest are Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus, Protestants and people with indigenous beliefs. END
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