The head of the Indonesian Archdiocese of Semarang hosting the central event of the 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD) considers it a “huge blessing” for the local Church. Archbishop Robertus Rubiyatmoko of Semarang, noted that the AYD challenges the region’s Catholic community to put into practice the diocese’s missionary pastoral project for 2016-2035. "Our greatest concern is for the Church to give more room to our youth so that they can contribute more to the development and life of the Catholic Church," he told AsiaNews.
The AYD got under way on Sunday with the preliminary ‘Days in the Dioceses’ (DID), where over 2000 young Catholic participants from 21 countries, including Indonesia, are being hosted in 11 of Indonesia’s 37 dioceses from July 30 to August 2. While living in local Catholic families, they will share and learn about the faith and also celebrate and interact with local communities and youth groups.
The young people will then converge in Yogyakarta city of Semarang Archdiocese for the main AYD event, August 2-6, which will include a variety of events such as adoration, confession, Mass, reflections, testimonies, workshops, group sharing, country exhibits and cultural performances. The theme of the 7th AYD is “Joyful Asian Youth: Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia!”
AYD - 'huge blessing'
In his latest pastoral letter to the diocese, Archbishop Rubiatmoko stressed that "the 7th edition of AYD is a huge blessing for the archdiocese of Semarang." "We must have great confidence in young people and prepare them from now on to develop their skills so that they become community leaders in society," said the prelate whom Pope Francis appointed on March 18. The prelate urged all the bishops to work together with youth. "With them we must plan our pastoral apostolate and together with them we can create a culture of life and a civilisation of goodness."
AYD’s opening ceremony will take place at the Yogyakarta Convention Hall. The final ceremony will be held at the Indonesian Airforce Academy. Fr Johannes Dwi Harsanto, chairman of AYD Standing Committee, said that at least 20,000 young Indonesians from Java and all other parts of the country are expected for the closing event that will culminate with a Mass.
Messenger of evangelical joy
Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi, bishop of Ketapang, president of the Youth Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI), the presence of young Catholics from different nations and from many provinces of Indonesia is a symbol of what the Church represents: being the messenger of evangelical joy. "I am excited and I welcome all the participants coming to Yogyakarta,” he told AsiaNews.
The choice of Yogyakarta as the venue for the 7th AYD venue was obvious, given the city’s fame as a centre of education, fine art, culture, literature and popular art. Thousands of university students from many parts of the country converge in the multi-ethnic city.
Bishop Prapdi said that the AYD, held in various cities of the Asia since 1999, owes it to St. John Paul II who took young people seriously, recognizing their concerns and hopes. He thus challenged them to give their lives for Christ, launching out in the New Evangelization.
"Young Asians, the Catholic Church gives you the task of proclaiming to the world the joy that comes from the encounter with Christ,” Bishop Prapdi urged. “Welcome to Yogyakarta and enjoy this precious time to experience the evangelical joy in an atmosphere of pluralism and diversity in Indonesia," he added. (Source: AsiaNews)