ASIA/INDONESIA - Love for the environment and witness in the midst of earthquakes: the life of Camillian seminarians with the parishioners of Maumere

Wednesday, 18 January 2023


Maumere (Agenzia Fides) - In recent hours, the American Institute of Geophysics USGS reported a violent tremor of magnitude 7.0 that hit the eastern part of the archipelago, near the Moluccas Islands. No damage was reported and aftershocks continue. Today's is recorded after the recent earthquake that hit the province of Maluku (see Fides 11/1/2023).
Despite the seismic events that continue to hit Indonesia, the activity of the Camillian Missionaries, MI, present on the island of Flores has not stopped.
In the Diocese of Maumere, at St. Maria Immakulata Parish, Habi, the seminarians of St.
Camillian Major Seminary were particularly involved in various pastoral activities throughout the Christmas period until January 2, 2023. "In all, we are 15 seminarians from this theological community, and were assigned to different parish areas", writes one of them to Agenzia Fides. We lived in the homes of parishioners. And for almost two weeks we have been busy conducting catechesis, visiting the sick, preparing the Christmas Mass liturgy, planting trees in areas surrounding the parish prone to landslides."
One of the seminarians, Agustinus Gunadin, said: "Living with the parishioners for fifteen days in this place was a truly memorable experience. Getting out of the routine of the seminary and having new experiences among the faithful encouraged me to realize my vocation as a student priest".
The activity that particularly impressed during the two weeks of life among the faithful was the planting of trees. "At the beginning, it was difficult to move people towards future-oriented environmental sustainability," said one of the two seminarians who promoted the initiative. Through patience and common will, we ended up becoming aware of it, as well as the parishioners". The Administrative Head of the parish church commented as follows: "The arrival of the seminarians to us was truly exciting. They want to live in the midst of our simplicity. Many activities, for example catechesis, visiting the sick and planting trees, have given people a new awareness of their future". This activity of visiting among the faithful has become an annual appointment for the Saint Camillian Major Seminary, in order to foster the spirit of closeness with people, which will also be the field of service for seminarians when they become priests in the future.
In December 2021, a very strong earthquake of magnitude 7.6 hit the coast of the archipelago in front of the island of Flores, about 100 km from the town of Maumere, the largest urban center on the island. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 18/1/2023)