Indonesia’s 14 new priests were ordained this year in different parishes of the dioceses of Manado, Sibolga and Bandung, in the presence of thousands of faithful.
What made these ceremonies a "rare opportunity" for local Catholics was that they occurred in parishes. Contrary to usual practice, whereby ordinations are performed in seminaries and episcopal sees, this group of deacons received their consecration among their people, including family and friends.
The country has a lot of seminaries, where most ordinations take place. However, for many Catholics this can be a disadvantage due to the great distances and their limited capacity to host visitors.
Therefore, ordinations are such a "rare event," a real "liturgical show" when they occur in village parishes, where everyone can participate.
This is what just happened, starting in the diocese of Bandung (West Java), on April 25, for three deacons, a diocesan priest and two members of the Order of the Holy Cross.
Their consecration ceremony was held at the Santa Maria Fatima Church in in Lembang (the province’s most famous tourist resort) in the presence of Mgr Antonius Bunjamin Subianto OSC.
Seven other priests were ordained in late April at the St Yohanes (Saint John the Baptist) Church in Laikit, in the diocese of Manado. Five of them are diocesan and are two Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
On May 3, the third ceremony took place in the diocese of Sibolga, on the island of Nias (North Sumatra province). Four deacons (three capuchins and one diocesan) were consecrated in Santa Maria, Mother of All Nations in Gunungsitoli.
Indonesia is an Islamic majority country (more than 85 per cent of a population of almost 256 million). In recent years Indonesia has been experiencing a sharp growth in the number of candidates to priesthood and religious life.
Pope Francis in his message for 54th World Day of Prayer for Vocations which we celebrated on May 7th said that we do not receive the gift of God’s love for our personal consolation, nor are we called to promote ourselves, or a business concern. We are simply men and women touched and transformed by the joy of God’s love, who cannot keep this experience just to ourselves he added. Through his message he urges all Catholics to reflect on the missionary dimension of our Christian calling. (AsiaNews)