2016-10-01 04:39:00

Tataaran village welcomes IYD guests

(Vatican)  Seeing is believing!  And for that you should have been here, not only to believe, but to experience in all of your senses and much more what a typical Indonesian welcome and hospitality is like in the northernmost province of North Sulawesi.   I’m talking about the village of Tataaran, some 40 kms south of the provincial capital, Manado.  It was Friday night, the eve of the of the Oct.1-6 Indonesian Youth Day (IYD) that is being hosted by the Diocese of Manado, whose jurisdiction stretches across the provinces of North Sulawesi, Gorantalo and Central Sulawesi.  The theme of the event is, “The Joy of Gospel Amidst a Plural Society in Indonesia”.
For the Second Indonesian Youth Day, which follows from the first one in October 2012 in Sanggau, West Kalimantan, 2600 young men and women from Indonesia’s 37 dioceses have been assigned to 37 of Manado’s parishes.  The first three days have been dedicated to participants living in and participating in the normal life of the local families.   The Parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Tataaran village has shown its large heart, taking in 63 young guests who for the next three days will be ‘members’ of 63 different families.   
These guests arrived in Tataaran on 30th September to a tumultuous welcome by the parish and the neighbourhood, which to an outsider would seem a carnival.  The young people arrived like VIPs, with their vehicles escorted by the police, while other police controlled the crowd and traffic.  A short distance away from St. Anthony’s Church, the young guests, clad in their blue IYD T-shirts, got off their vehicles and the leaders were garlanded.   The procession to the church began with a young guest holding aloft a wooden cross, while spear-wielding performers clad in red costume and feathers, large bird beaks and animal skulls as headgear, led the way dancing the fiery Kabasaran, a traditional Minahasan war dance from North Sulawesi.  
In front of the Church, Parish Priest Fr. Christian Santie welcomed his 63 guests to deafening cheers and applause by the crowd, that included not just Catholics but also Protestants, Muslims and others, proof of the great spirit of tolerance, harmony and brotherhood reigning among religions in the region.  Fr. Christian took the cross from his guest and accompanied by processional dance entered the church and set it up in front of the altar.  But a typical Sulawesi welcome is never complete without a meal which soon followed after the spirited rendering of the official theme song of the Indonesian Youth Day.  
After three days of live-in programme, the Indonesia Youth Day will be officially inaugurated on Oct. 4 at Manado City’s Klabat Stadium, where all the participants will gather for a Mass, cultural shows, and dinner, an event which the provincial governor,  the Apostolic Nuncio, the mayor and 5 district chiefs are expected to attend.  

Monica Ngantgung is the treasurer of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Tataaran village, while Andreas Lalogiroth is the coordinator of the IYD event in Tataaran.  They briefly explained to Vatican Radio how the three-day live-in programme with families is going to work out and how they managed to put up a magnificent welcome for their guests. 


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