Jakarta (AsiaNews) - In his address to 12 new priests and deacons (pictured) in the Diocese of Bogor in West Java province, Mgr Antonio Guido Filipazzi, apostolic nuncio to Indonesia, invited them to pray, seek holiness and obey their bishop in order to carry out as best they can the new mission that is entrusted to them by the Lord.
The ordination ceremony was held last week at the Holy Family Parish Church in Cibinong. For the local bishop, Mgr Paschalis Bruno Syukur, this was his first ordination - eight priests and four deacons - since he took the helm of the diocese. It was however the second such experience for the Vatican representative to the world's largest Muslim country.
Hundreds of people attended the service, packing the church, in order to share in the celebration of the whole community.
In his homily, the nuncio urged the faithful to support the new priests and deacons in their mission, through prayer and practical help. Turning to the newly ordained, Mgr Filipazzi asked them to be always "holy and fearless."
The aspiration to holiness, said the Vatican representative, goes beyond words but also takes concrete steps. As "priests and deacons," he explained, "you now belong to God and this requires you to be holy from a moral point of view," and be "faithful" and bear "witnesses to the faith" through "prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist."
Urging them to move away from material goods, the prelate reminded them not to take advantage of their vestments for "personal ambitions or enrich themselves or their family." The priesthood is a service, warned the nuncio, which requires obedience to the Church and to one's superiors. "Your life is now entirely dedicated to God," he explained. "Through celibacy, you are called to exercise your love without self-interest."
To better experience the new mission, Mgr Filipazzi stressed the importance of prayer and the sacrament of Confession. "You have been chosen," he said, "but this does not mean that you are 'special'; on the contrary, you have to be more and more a source of 'blessing' for the people whom you serve. Your mission is to proclaim the Gospel and bring God to the people."
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, Christians represent 5.7 per cent of the population with Catholics just over 3.6 per cent.
As an active component of society, Catholics have contributed to the nation's development over the years and played a major role in emergency operations, as was the case during the devastating floods of January 2013.