2016-10-03 17:24:00

Indonesian Youth Day concludes live-in programme

The Second Indonesian Youth Day (IYD) taking place in the northern Diocese of Manado, Oct. 1-6, enters its second phase on Oct. 4, as young participants from the nation’s 37 dioceses, including a group from Malaysia’s Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese, ended a 3-day live-in programme Oct. 3, residing in local Catholic, Protestant as well as some Muslim families of Manado’s 37 parishes.  The final phase of the 6-day event will start Tuesday afternoon with the official inauguration of the Indonesian Youth Day, with all the participants coming together for the  first time at Manado’s Klabat Stadium.  They will be joined by several thousands of others.  The youth event on the theme, “The Joy of Gospel Amidst a Plural Society in Indonesia” intends to create in the young Catholics of Indonesia the need to appreciate and treasure the differences between people and in nature in order to live in harmony and brotherhood with all.
A press conference was held on Monday afternoon at the IYD Media Centre in St. Francis Xavier Parish Church, Pineleng, to take stock of the Indonesian youth event at the halfway point.   Among those who addressing the gathering were Bishop Joseph Suwatan of Manado, Bishop Pius Prabdi of Ketapang, the chairman of the Youth Commission of the Indonesian Bishops’ conference and Fr. John  Montolalu, the coordinator at the IYD Secretariat at the Bishop’s House in Manado.  
Ahead of the IYD, some 2,600 participants were expected at the youth event in Manado, but Fr. Montolalu told reporters on Oct. 3 that 2,192 participated in the live-in activity and together with their priests, nuns and lay guides, the overall number stood at 2,458.   He described the live-in programme as ‘good news‘ and an ‘achievement’ because the participants were welcomed and quickly made to feel at home in the new parish, family and community.  This way, he said, participants in the live-in event form a community not only with the families and young people but also with parishes and with society at large. On returning home, they can witness to the  friendship and brotherhood they have experienced in Manado, he said.    
Commenting on the IYD theme of joy of the Gospel amidst the pluralism of Indonesia, Fr. Montolalu said the inspiration is the witness and preaching of Pope Francis who set out his and the Church’s agenda in his Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” or the “Joy of the Gospel.”  He noted that events like the Indonesian Youth Day can form young people to tolerance in dealing with disharmony that can arise from the multi-cultural and multi-religious situation of Indonesia.  Despite being a minority community in Indonesia, he said, they should not be afraid but must bear witness to their faith with joy.  
In his address to the media, Bishop Prabdi recalled St. John Paul II saying the youth are the heart of the Church’s evangelizing mission.   He said, young people can share the experiences of their local communities with their counterparts from other communities in events like the Indonesian Youth Day and enrich themselves.   He explained that the youth event in Manado is envisaged on the early Christian community that gathered together every day, home to home, to pray, share the Word of God and celebrate. 
Speaking on the side lines of the press conference, Fr. Terry Panomban, the director of the IYD  inauguration ceremony at Klabat Stadium Tuesday afternoon, told Vatican Radio that some 15,000, mostly Catholics from the North Sulawesi province, are expected to be present at the event.   After a procession with crosses by representatives of Indonesia’s 37 dioceses enters the stadium, Bishop Suwatan will concelebrate Holy Mass and inaugurate the Second Indonesian Youth Day.  The long programme stretching up to nearly 11 PM at night will include performances by other religious communities of Manado and a  dance drama tracing the history of the first arrival of the Gospel in what is Indonesia today.  Tuesday’s event at Klabat Stadium also includes an incredible 'packet' dinner for the estimated 15,000.  Fr. Terry said the credit for this goes to the generosity of the people of Manado, for whom getting together is so important that they do it with much celebration and style.

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