ASIA/INDONESIA - Looking towards Asian Youth Day: young Catholics in Bali focus on faith and dialogue

Tuesday, 11 April 2017 youth   world youth day   dialogue   islam   hinduism   peace   faith  

Denpasar (Agenzia Fides) – “Young people are the future of the Church. The Church must be a place which welcomes young people and encourages them to express their faith in various forms of activity”: Fides was told by twenty year old Emilius Melkisedek, a Catholic and a member of the Youth Pastoral group at St Francis Xavier parish in Kuta, diocese of Denpasar, on the Indonesian island of Bali. Denpasar with eight parishes is the only diocese on the island.
“Young people are the future of the Church. We want a Church that promotes activities for young people welcoming them with love and affection. If the Church neglects her Youth then she also neglects her future” he adds. Melkisedek, who is studying management at university, is very active in his parish. He belongs to a Youth group with about 60 other young members who, besides singing in the choir, plan and perform plays on Bible themes to make the Christian message known all over the parish territory. “My involvement in pastoral activity is motivated by my love for the Church and the more I share my faith the more it grows” he said
“Youth activities help me socialise with other organisations, with people of different faiths as well as strengthening my relations with young persons of my own faith” he remarks, expressing appreciation that “Pope Francis has chosen Youth as the theme of the next Synod of Bishops to be held in 2018 in Rome”.
“I am very happy about this decision. It will give great impulse to youth pastoral care for the good of the faith, of spirituality and better formation in the faith for families and communities. I am convinced that young Catholics can promote social change and be a source of hope for everyone. This is most important in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country ” Melkisedek reminds Fides.
Another positive note for young Indonesians is the next Asian Youth Day to be held this year from 30 July to 9 August in Indonesia, bringing together in the archdiocese of Semarang some 3.000 young Catholics from 29 Asian countries to reflect on the theme "Joyful Asian Youth! Living The Gospel In Multicultural Asia".
Enthusiastic young people in Bali, says Melkisedek, are exploring ways and means to encourage interreligious dialogue, sharing seminars and sports activities with young people of Muslim and Hindu religion, with the goal of promoting peace, tolerance, unity and social integration in Bali, a famous resort where most of the people are Hindus. In his locality Melkisedek is anxious to do his part to spread the Gospel,: “Jesus is our role model for life and our Saviour. As young members of the Church we want to take care of her future: we are the future of the Church”. (ES – PA) (Agenzia Fides 11/4/2017)