Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of young Indonesian Catholics recently gathered in Jakarta, for a three day meeting entitled "Live for God, Life for Good". The initiative, strongly supported by the archdiocese and the Jesuit seminarians of the capital, was organized by Persink activists, a movement born in 1984 to promote "fraternity among Catholic students who attend public high schools". For decades, public school students, unlike their counterparts who go to private schools run by nuns or religious, have been relegated to the margins of Church life. But now things have changed, and after almost 30 years, even the highest Catholic authorities have local programs and initiatives for these young believers.
The three-day meeting in Jakarta was an opportunity for moments of spiritual reflection and prayer alternated with formation programs and leadership training programs. Students learned not only to broaden their views, but at the same time to develop a sense of service as was the case for the (mutual) washing of the feet.
In addition to the evening meetings on the meaning of sin and of the profound value of forgiveness, there were also moments of fun and entertainment, always based on mutual respect, brotherhood and working together. At the end of each activity, each group went up on stage and proposed a performance from their own cultural background. The third and final day, the students elected the movement's new organizing committee.
Meanwhile, dozens of Catholic students, from elementary to high school, in public and private institutions, are meeting in Nanggulan (Yogyakarta, in central Java), to attend a Mass sponsored by the parish priest, Fr. Tejo Kusumantara. Both the Eucharistic celebration and three-day meeting in late July are the result of personal initiative of local priests and Jesuits, which were metwith great enthusiasm by hundreds of young people.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, Christians represent 5.7 per cent of the population with Catholics just over 3.6 per cent. Catholics are an active component in society. Over the years, they have contributed to the nation's development and played a major role in emergency operations, as was the case during the devastating floods of January 2013.
Yesterday, two Batak priests were ordained in Padang. Two days ago 8 priests in the diocese of Semarang. Two weeks ago, six new Jesuit priests in Kotabaru. Many young people reflect on the basic meaning of their lives and decide to enter seminaries. A very different situation from the one in the West.