ASIA/INDONESIA - Dominicans: “Dialogue as a Way of Preaching”

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

ASIA/INDONESIA - Dominicans: “Dialogue as a Way of Preaching”
Surabaya (Agenzia Fides) – Dialogue is a privileged form of Christian preaching, particularly in Muslim countries. This emerged during a Dominican Family Meeting organised recently in Indonesia. Some 90 participants, according to report sent to Fides, priests, men and women religious, and laity active all over the world in the field of “Justice and peace and Care for Creation”, came together in Surabaya, to discuss dialogue, fundamentalism, violence, peace.
The assembly agreed that “from the beginning, the Dominican way of preaching was undertaken and focussed using dialogue as a tool”. “All Dominicans – we read in a statement sent to Fides– are called to be men and women of dialogue. Saint Dominic is said to have spent whole nights conversing with people of convictions different from his own”. In the same spirit Dominican men and women working in Muslim countries, began to share their experience of interreligious dialogue: this led to “Journées Romaines Dominicaines”, usually held in Rome, and which for the first time this year moved to Indonesia.
The participants agreed “although true faith creates peace and harmony in the world, too often religions are used to cause division and even war”. “This gives us great responsibility to show profound respect for all religions and to engage in sincere profound dialogue, so that all religions may lead people to discover the common humanity shared by all men and women” Fides learned from Fr. Mike Deeb, OP.
In his address to the participants, the Catholic Bishop of Surabaya, Bishop Vincentius Sutikno Wisaksono, said: “Dialogue means being conscious of suffering, our own and that of others”. The Bishop added that “the main basis for a true dialogue is respect for human dignity, for freedom, and for each other. Dialogue is an attitude of the heart. Let us open our hearts to God in order to encounter our brothers and sisters created in the image of God”.
The Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominican Order, is present in 126 different countries. Currently it has 6,000 brothers ( the majority of whom are priests), 3.000 contemplative nuns (in enclosed convents) , 27,000 active sisters, and 144.000 lay members, with a growing number of youth members. The Order only started its presence in Indonesia 10 ago and has two communities, one in Surabaya and the other in Kalimantan. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 3/9/2014)