Second Indonesian Youth Day to celebrate diversity

Indonesia's bishops' conference is to hold a second Indonesian Youth Day in October to encourage young Catholics to celebrate their nation’s diversity.

May 23, 2016

JAKARTA: Indonesia's bishops' conference is to hold a second Indonesian Youth Day in October to encourage young Catholics to celebrate their nation’s diversity.

“Indonesian Youth Day is a celebration of young Catholics in which they can express their thankfulness to God for the country's diversity,” Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang, chairman of the bishops’ Commission for Youth said at press conference May 19 in Jakarta.

The event, which is to be held Oct. 1-6 in Manado, North Sulawesi will see at least 3,000 young Catholics from all Indonesia’s 37 archdioceses and dioceses taking part.

The theme of the Youth Day celebrations will be “The Joy of Gospel Amidst Plural Society in Indonesia” since “plurality is a blessing for our diversity, and with this we can work together to face challenges,” Bishop Pradi said.

“We want young Catholics to develop themselves, to boost solidarity, and develop social awareness so that they can face the challenges faced by this nation, such as drug abuse and environmental destruction,” he added.

Speaking with, Bishop Prapdi said that the theme was taken based on the current situation in Indonesia where social conflicts are common.

“Social conflicts happen because people don't have a good understanding of diversity. Diversity is a life. If we are the same, we won’t survive. This is how we should understand diversity,” he said.

He said young people need to understand differences between people and in nature so that they can live in harmony.

Father John Montolalu, who will coordinate the event said Manado was chosen to host the celebrations as it's relevant to the theme.

“The Manado Diocese serves three provinces: North Sulawesi, Gorontalo and Central Sulawesi. North Sulawesi province has Protestants as a majority group, while Gorontalo and Central Sulawesi provinces have Muslims. Catholics are in the minority in all these provinces,” he explained.

“As a minority group, however, Catholics can live in harmony with people with other religions. This is the message of harmony,” he said.

Participants will spend the first three days taking part in a live-in program at local people’s houses, both Catholics and non-Catholics. Formation programs such as seminars and catechesis will follow.

“We hope young Catholics will bring with them a new spirit … and learn how to become missioners amidst other young Catholics, parishioners and society,” Father Montolalu said.

Citra Scholastika, a young Catholic and popular singer, said the youth day should help keep the faith of young Catholics strong.

“The theme is relevant to young Catholics in Indonesia, where there are many religions, races, ethnicities and cultures. I hope many young Catholics will take part in the program and return to their own archdioceses and dioceses with good values,” she said.

The first Indonesian Youth Day took place in October 2012 in Sanggau, West Kalimantan, with the theme “Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Strengthened in the Faith.”

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