An Indian bishop on Sunday urged young Catholics at the 7th Asian Youth Day in Indonesia to affirm their Christian identity by knowing Jesus and getting closer to Him. Celebrating the inaugural Mass of the preliminary “Days in the Dioceses” (DID) event in Palembang Archdiocese, Bishop Antonio Alwin Fernandes Barretto of Sindudurg said young people should talk about everything in their lives to the Lord Jesus. “Jesus is our life. Jesus lives among you,” he said in his homily.
Archbishop Aloysius Sudarso of Palembang welcomed 251 Asian Youth Day guests from India, Malaysia and Indonesia for the preliminary July 30 to Aug. 2 DID. During the 4 days they will live with local Catholic families, share and learn about their faith and also celebrate and interact with local communities and youth groups.
The guests from India, Malaysia and Indonesia who arrived in Palembang by train and air were felicitated by their hosts with garlands, the tanjak head gear and shawl according to the local Palembang tradition. They were driven to Saint Peter’s Parish of Palembang where they were greeted with entertainment, dancing, singing and typical local dishes.
The evening Mass with two bishops and 41 priests was attended by some 600 young people, including many local youth. It started with a colourful procession that included flags of Indonesia, Malaysia, India, the Vatican and the AYD. The Indonesian anthem “Indonesia Raya” was sung and the AYD prayer recited at the Mass.
For Bishop Barretto who led a group of 46 young people from India’s 20 dioceses, it was his first visit to Indonesia. He said he only heard about the beauty of Indonesia from people. “I am very happy to be here and enjoy,” he added.
After the Eucharist, followed a dinner and opening ceremony that included the Tanggai traditional.
At the end of the DID, all participants will travel to Yogyakarta on Wednesday where the main AYD event will take place, Aug. 2-6. The theme of the 7th Asian Youth Day is, "Joyful Asian Youth: Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia!”