ASIA/INDONESIA - The first National Festival of Sacred Music: a universal message of peace

Tuesday, 23 October 2018 peace   reconciliation   dialogue  

Ambon (Agenzia Fides) - Music is a means of elevating the spirit of man towards God, it is a universal language and is a vehicle to send to Indonesia, to believers of all religions, a message of reconciliation and peace: with this spirit and with this intent the Pesta Paduan Suara Gerejani (Pesparani), the national festival of Catholic sacred music, will be held in Ambon, Moluccas archipelago, between 27 October and 2 November. The event is expected to draw about 8,000 people, Catholics and others, from the country’s 34 provinces. Indonesian President Joko Widodo and several Indonesian Bishops will attend the opening ceremony, while Vice President Jusuf Kalla will be present at the closing ceremony.
The Festival takes on a special significance: the city of Ambon was the epicenter of social and religious conflict in the period 1999-2001, when a wave of sectarian violence broke out, causing 4,000 victims, including Muslims and Protestant Christians, and over half a million displaced. The violence ended with the Malino peace treaty, agreed by the government, on February 13, 2002.
"By choosing Ambon, this first national Catholic holy festival intends to highlight that the impression that violence caused by religious sectarianism no longer exists in Indonesia", explained the minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin during a preparatory seminar on the theme "Building national harmony and defending the Republic of Indonesia through performing arts: from Jakarta to Ambon".
Professor Adrianus Meliala, among the organizers, reiterates to Fides that "the festival in Ambon intends to promote pluralism in the whole of Indonesian society". And Putut Prabantoro, a Catholic and member of the organizing committee, reminds Fides that "Whoever sings well, prays twice", quoting the words of St. Augustine.
There will be several concerts of sacred music and songs during the festival, involving choirs, adults, teenagers and children of the diocese of Bogor, in the province of West Java. It "will be useful to promote social tolerance and a sense of brotherhood among Indonesian citizens". (MH) (Agenzia Fides, 23/10/2018)