ASIA/INDONESIA - One hundred years since the first meeting of bishops in Indonesia: bearers of hope in anticipation of the Pope's visit

Thursday, 16 May 2024 bishops  

Jakarta (Agenzi Fides) - For a hundred years, the mission of the Church in Indonesia has been to be a bearer of hope, and the task of the bishops has been to lead a "community of hope" that moves together for the good of the Church and the nation ", said the Indonesian bishops on the occasion of the centenary of the first meeting of the then vicars and apostolic prefects of Indonesia in 1924. In an extraordinary general assembly in May, the bishops' conference held a meeting yesterday, May 15, as part of a program full of various initiatives, in which 37 bishops, two cardinals and the Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia took part in a mass and ceremony presided over by the Archbishop of Jakarta, Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo, to inaugurate the new building that houses the Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI), in central Jakarta.
The President of the Bishops' Conference and Bishop of the Diocese of Bandung in West Java, Antonius Bunjamin (OSC), recalled the centenary and said that "at a time when there is uncertainty in society, the Catholic Bishops' Conference is expected to be a "community of good hope" in Indonesia. The Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Piero Pioppo appreciated the fact that the KWI "works with other institutions and organizations in the spirit of the 'common path' to further develop the Church and the nation", emphasizing in particular the spirit of synodality. "Walking together for the good of the church and the nation" is the official theme of the current bishops' meeting. "In the current mission of the church, the Indonesian bishops are inspired by and refer to the mission of Jesus and his disciples," said the Nuncio and pointed out that over the past hundred years the conference has always followed the compass of "development of the Church and the nation", "Pope Francis' visit to Indonesia next September will certainly strengthen the morale and faith of our community", he said, hoping that "a strong missionary spirit will be ignited to spread the Good News of Jesus." With regard to the visit of Pope Francis, the nuncio continued, the State's commitment to the Church will take the form of the contribution of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and its specific department, the General Directorate for Catholic Communities, which has guaranteed full cooperation. As Director Suparman explained, the authority will "provide financial assistance to religious organizations, particularly in remote or neglected areas, for the renovation and restoration of places of worship and educational institutions." The vicariates and apostolic prefectures that had emerged since the beginning of the 20th century (there were the ecclesiastical circumscriptions of Batavia, Maluku, Irian Jaya, Borneo, Sumatra, Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi) met for the first time in 1924 to agree on a common direction on various questions of church life and relations with the civil authorities, the Dutch colonial rulers at the time. The meeting, held on May 15 and 16, 1924 at the Jakarta Cathedral, was the first gathering of the bishops present in the Indonesian archipelago and was presided over by the Vicar Apostolic of Jakarta, Bishop A. Van Velsen. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 16/5/2024)