ASIA/INDONESIA - Fraternity and mercy, the words that express the meaning of the Pope's visit to Indonesia

Thursday, 13 June 2024 pope francis   fraternity   pastoral visit  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - The importance of Pope Francis' visit to Indonesia will be marked by the two terms that will also be the leitmotif of his presence in the Asian archipelago: fraternity and mercy. This is what the Secretary General of the Indonesian Episcopal Conference and Bishop of Bogor, Paskalis Bruno Syukur (ofm), said, explaining how the Indonesian Church is preparing for the long-awaited visit of the Pope, who will visit Indonesia from 3 to 6 September as part of his apostolic journey through Asia (Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor) scheduled for next September.
"The Indonesian Catholic community, bishops, priests, religious and lay people," he said, "see and love the Pope as a figure who testifies to fraternity, mercy and a strong faith in Jesus". On the expectations that all of Indonesia, a nation of 275 million inhabitants, has of the Pope's visit, he stressed: "Our wish and hope is that the arrival of Francis will inspire the nation to secure and maintain prosperity and peace."
On the theme of human fraternity, Bishop Syukur explained: "On many occasions and throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has given priority to human fraternity, focusing on human dignity regardless of ethnicity, culture and religion: his encyclical 'Fratelli Tutti' deepens and explains this approach." "In the large and plural Indonesian nation," he stressed, "this is particularly evident in the experience of coexistence between different cultural, religious and linguistic groups, as well as in the peaceful coexistence and dialogue between believers of different religions in a nation with an Islamic majority." "Francis," said the bishop, "has often praised Indonesia for the coexistence of ethnic and cultural diversity, which is expressed in the national motto 'Unity in Diversity'. His arrival in Indonesia will be an opportunity to strengthen the spirit of fraternity and pluralism, which can sometimes weaken or dwindle due to different regions and different social and political problems. We believe that the Pope's presence will be appreciated by the faithful of the different religious communities, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus." The Pope is "a personality who inspires unity, acceptance and love for others, who promotes dialogue and integration, a man of peace and hope who embraces everyone." In this sense, the Pope can also encourage Indonesian society to live the second great theme: compassion for others. "The Pope comes to tell us that Christ is present in those who are small and helpless. We would like to take this opportunity to propose to all the Catholic communities in Indonesia, in the various regions, to renew the spirit of compassion towards the small, poor and remote communities, towards the destitute, suffering and weak.
The Church is called to go out and reach the poor and suffering with the richness and joy of the Gospel." The bishop says he trusts in the religiosity of Indonesian citizens, "who are devout regardless of which religious community they belong to." The Pope is "a charismatic figure worldwide, a religious leader, a man of God, and therefore his presence will strengthen people's faith." Finally, the Pope's visit will seal the year 2024, which will mark the centenary of the founding of the Indonesian Episcopal Conference, "which began a path of communion and synodality in the Indonesian Church in the territory of such a vast archipelago scattered over 17,000 islands". And it will be a fruitful preparation, say the Bishops, to live the Holy Year 2025 under the sign of renewed hope. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 13/6/2024)