Palembang (Agenzia Fides) - The diocesan priests in Indonesia are called to "have the smell of the sheep, to accompany the people of God in moments of joy, sorrow, in failures as in successes, and always instill joy and hope"; their task is to "carry out their pastoral ministry in humility, to love the portion of Church entrusted to them, to be obedient to their bishop", says to Fides Fr. Paulus Christian Siswantoko, newly elected president of "Unio Indonesia", the Indonesian Association of Diocesan Priests, which includes over 2,300 priests spread throughout the national territory of the vast archipelago of Southeast Asia.
Father Siswantoko and the new Association Council were elected during the National Assembly held in the past few days in San Giuseppe Parish in Palembang (South Sumatra) and will be in office for the period 2017-2020. The International President of the Apostolic Union of the Clergy (UAC) Mgr. Giuseppe Magrin was also present during the Holy Mass, in addition to 10 bishops, about 130 priests, seminarians, religious and numerous faithful.
In a conversation with Fides, Fr. Siswantoko, who is already the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Justice, Peace and Pastoral Care for Migrants, said that "he is aware of this responsibility and will do everything possible to serve the diocesan priests at a national level".
The assembly was a valuable time to develop and share reflections, spiritual activities and pastoral issues that is lived in the various local Churches in Indonesia, an archipelago that embraces a wide variety of cultures, ethnicities and traditions. The particular objective of the association is to improve exchange, fraternity and collaboration of the diocesan priests at a national level, with the idea of offering a service and an authentic evangelical apostolate in society. The essential point of reference for each action and reflection is Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.
In addition, in order to foster relationships with the diocesan priests of other Asian countries, the Union is in contact with the diocesan priests of East Timor, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. (PP-PA) (Agenzia Fides 15/5/2017)