AT least three objectives are expected to be met during the six-day long national catholic youth gathering known as Indonesian Youth Day in Manado, North Sulawesi Province with at least 2,548 young participants including their mentors as well as priests, religious brothers and nuns.
At least 24 bishops also join this festivity, including Vatican Ambassador to Indonesia Mgrs. Antonio Guido Filipazzi and the Indonesia Ambassador for the Holy See HE. Agustinus Sriyono who directly comes from Rome to his native country Indonesia and later on flews to Manado to pasticipate this national event among the Indonesian catholic youth.
First things first is to boost the morale of thousands Indonesian catholic youth to become ‘agents’ of evangelization in the society as previously expected by Pope John Paul II who personally initiated the same event known today as the World Youth Day.
Through their real hands-on experience to stay and live with local families in Manado –either Christian-catholic or Muslim families—from various differences of background of the culture, language, ethnicity and religion, these Indonesian catholic youth are expected to explore their humanity in the real condition of the most typical pluralistic Indonesian society in a variety of social life: culture, language, ethnicity and religion.
“Through their four-day long hands-on ‘live in’ program in the real pluralistic society of Indonesia, these catholic young people are expected to enjoy the true ‘nature’ of the Indonesian society namely its pluralism. By that experience in the society, their morale are boosted to become agents of evangelization based on their own personal experience to explore the richness of the Indonesian pluralistic society by showing respect to others, preserve the spirit of tolerance, and to extend their personal experience of ‘evangelii gaudium’ to others as generally expected by the Church,” said Mgrs. Pius Riana Prabdi, the president of the youth commission in the Indonesian Bishops of conference (Komkep KWI) during today’s official press conference in Pineleng, Manado.
According to this Ketapang Bishop from West Kalimantan Province, Indonesian Youth Day is very significant event, not only the Indonesian catholic youth –the main participants of the event—but also the host –the catholic Indonesian Church.
It is within this Indonesian Youth Day 2016 in Manado that the catholic church of Indonesia through its Komkep KWI that a national gathering among the youth could be performed. It is done with great expectation that every youth from all 37 dioceses across Indonesia could meet and known each other and together they also experience the true nature of the typical Indonesian pluralistic society.
“The nature of the catholic church is ‘semper reformanda’ (everlasting rejuvenated) and every youth from different diocese practice their faith based on their own local way of life. It this through this nationwide ‘gathering’ that every participant could enrich their faith one and another as well as they could extend their strong contribution to the development of the Indonesian catholic church in the society,” the bishop said.
On the other hand, through this national faith celebration, the catholic church of Indonesia has also contributed to the young community a ‘national forum’ where people could meet, known each other and as a flock of “catholic congregation” these young people could extend their good contribution to the society.
The third objective , explained the bishop, is the fact that through this national gathering the Indonesian catholic young people could experience the most ‘original’ spirit of the early Christian people following the ascension of Christ where mutual support, social gathering and praying community are taking place. “It is within the spirit of early churches that our ‘live in’ program is performed in the society,” said the bishop.
All participants of this 2nd Indonesian Youth Day 2016 in Manado Diocese are expected to explore their stay-live in program in the families and to experience their real daily life as a nucleus of social entity in the society.
1st Indonesian Youth Day in 2012
The first Indonesian Youth Day happened in 2012 in Sanggau, West Kalimantan Provinces and was hosted by three local dioceses: Sanggau, Sintang dan Pontianak.
The 2nd Indonesia Youth Day 2016 is done one year ahead in 2016 as next year will take place the Asian Youth Day 2017 in Yogyakarta, Central Java, that will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Semarang.
Indonesian Youth Day happens within five-year term.
Much support from the locals
Speaking on behalf of the event’s host during the press conference, Manado Bishop Mgrs. Joseph Theodorus Suwatan MSC reiterated the perspective that this national event has been massively supported by the locals including the government –both provincial, regional districts and Manado local authority—and the interfaith community as well as the common society. Years earlier, he said, all religious leaders in the province have declared their mutual commitment to preserve the peaceful co-existence that has long been practiced by the society in this province.
“Through this Indonesian Youth Day in Manado Diocese, all participants are expected to experience and to enjoy the evangelical joy that happens every day in the province: peaceful co-existence in the society,” said Bishop Suwatan.
Manado diocese consists of three different provinces namely North Sulawesi, Gorontalo and Central Sulawesi. When Central Sulawesi was rocked by communal clashes between two different radical groups in Poso –the Christians and the Muslims—North Sulawesi has never been ‘tainted’ by any social conflict in the society.
The 2nd Indonesian Youth Day’s organizing committee Father John Montolalu adds that through this national gathering among the youth from all dioceses across the county and two ‘foreign’ missions from Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese and Timor Leste, “All participants experience the true living ‘evangelii gaudium’ in the society.”
All participants will also meet their bishops in a more informal “atmosphere’ during ‘chit-chat’ program where the bishops will share to their different audiences about what the church say on certain issues in the society. Other sources will also share their thoughts and views to youth people with different issues and topics.