Manado (Agenzia Fides) - The cross was the symbol of the Indonesian Youth Day (October 4-6), which ends today in Manado. As Fides learns, the cross, made of bamboo and rattan, was built by a Muslim craftsman: the work is, itself, a sign of that "unity in diversity" and harmony among different religions which is the motto of Indonesia and was the central theme of World youth Day, titled: "the joy of the Gospel in a plural society".
"The cross is the symbol of these days", said His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Suwatan, Bishop of Manado. "The cross was a pilgrim, traveling to the parishes in the diocese of Manado" symbolizing the path of those who "want to pick the fruit from the cross, which is love, to build peace", he remarked.
Many Muslims welcomed and honored the cross as a symbol of peace during this diocesan pilgrimage. Fr. Albert Sudjoko, theologian and professor at the Major Seminary of Pineleng, in North Sulawesi, told Fides: "The cross is for Christians the wisdom of God who loves and gives life. Gradually the people of Indonesia understood the meaning of the Cross of youth Day: it is not a sign of conflict or conquest but a sign of respect, acceptance and mutual charity, and expresses the desire to maintain harmony and develop peace in Indonesia".
The cross dominated the closing ceremony as well as the opening Mass, celebrated on October 4 in Manado stadium, after a joyous march was held with songs, dances and prayers, which involved more than 2,600 young people present in North Sulawesi, who came from 37 Indonesian dioceses.
The liturgies were presided over by the Bishop of Manado, His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Suwatan, and saw the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Guido Filippazzi, the Archbishop of Jakarta, His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Suharyo, President of the Episcopal Conference, and Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi, President of the Episcopal Commission for youth, as well as 24 other Bishops and over 100 priests.
The event was widely reported on social media, also to benefit all those young people who, for organizational reasons, wanted to be present but could not be there. In addition to the website, specific accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook broadcast live many activities of the big event, sharing words, photos and video.
"At the end of the event, the young people return to their hometowns with the mission to share the experience in Manado with their friends, families and local communities. Values such as love and peace are contagious", concluded Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/10/2016)