Indonesian appointed to Vatican youth advisory body

The 24-year-old student, who hails from the Diocese of Bogor, will join the 20-member group set up by the Holy See. The latter include young people from around the world and various movements, associations and communities. Young people took part in the various stages of the 2018 Synod. Dialogue based on tolerance is fundamental.

Dec 02, 2019

By Mathias Hariyadi
The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life announced Solemnity of Christ the King, the appointment of Agatha Lydia Natania, a 24-year-old student from the Diocese of Bogor (West Java), to a new international youth advisory body set up on the basis of the Final Document of the 2018 Synod.

The 20-member body, whose members were nominated for three years, includes people from all over the world, drawn from international movements, associations and communities. They participated in the various stages of the synodal process, including last June’s Dicastery-sponsored International Youth Forum (IYF) designed to promote the implementation of the apostolic exhortation Christus vivit.

Asia will be represented by four people. In addition to Natania, there are Jesvita Princy Quadras (India), Makoto Yamada (Japan) and Émile Abou Chaar (Lebanon). Natania’s appointment was well received back home, especially in Bogor.

Since she was little, Natania has been an active member of the community of the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “When I was still a child,” she remembers, “I attended Sunday school and the Bina Iman Anak (a faith group for children). Later, I joined Bina Iman Remaja (a faith group for teenagers).” Eventually, she became the church choir organist and joined the Orang Muda Katolik (Catholic youth).

Her community activism extended to the national Church, through the Youth Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI). She also was part of the group that translated Christus vivit in Indonesian. A graduate of the Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung, she speaks, in addition to her native Indonesian, English, Italian and Spanish.

Last June, she participated in the International Youth Forum in Rome. “During the event I was very active, speaking on current issues that affect the young generation,” she explained. “I was also asked to be a moderator for some group discussions.”

“I proposed some ideas to tackle current challenges and spoke about methods to disseminate Christus Vivit among young people and how the Church hierarchy very often underestimates the contribution young people can make.” For her, this is “becoming my personal concern too.”

“I also spoke about the urgency for Church leaders to guide young people when facing serious challenges in their daily life and how to motivate them to get involved in some key events in the church.”

She also proposed one issue for discussion, namely “that culture and social values are very important to cope with as every nation has its own values and cultures”.

In Indonesia mutual respect and tolerance among various religious groups is crucial in daily social life. This is also true for young Indonesians who “are called to show great respect and tolerance to their peers from other groups and religions”.

After the Forum, the Holy See contacted Natania because she speaks Italian and Spanish. She wrote a summary of the meeting.

“Months after the IYF, I got a letter from the Holy See saying that my name was listed as a potential nominee member of the advisory board. Finally, last week the Holy See officially tapped me [for the post]. I am happy,” she said.

The advisory body will provide feedback and work with the Dicastery to look more closely into questions related to pastoral care and other topics of interest. Its first meeting is scheduled for April 2020 in Rome.--Asia News

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