27 July 2016
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    » 01/02/2016, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    A priest finally reaches faraway Pakak

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Located some 400 km from the provincial capital, the one-thousand strong community of St Michael’s in Pakak gets a priest only for a day of the year because of its remoteness. Older couples renewed their marriage vows and young people went to confession and asked for advice.

    Pontianak (AsiaNews) – The St Michael’s Catholic Parish in Pakak received an extraordinary gift this Christmas: five full days with a priest, Fr Frensius Supriyadi.

    The gift was unexpected as it was welcome because the community is located in a very dangerous and hard-to-reach area. Yet, the visit brought joy and unforgettable moments to the community.

    The area is some 400 kilometres from Ponianak, West Kalimantan’s capital, a medium-size industrial city on the west coast of Borneo.

    St Michael’s belongs to the Diocese of Sintang, and has a congregation of 1,075 people, who are the local majority. “We are like the Philippines," locals like to say.

    Unlike Java, where each community can be reached by car or motorbike, travel in this part of Indonesia is difficult. People move around in boats, and off-road motorcycles. What is more, floods and torrential rains often make the area inaccessible.

    Viktorinus Bosio, a young local Catholic activist, told AsiaNews that "Fr Frensius’ presence was a special gift”.

    “Religious services are usually led by lay people,” he explained. “Sometimes, students from the St John Vianney Seminary in Menyurai perform the services. When a priest does come, he usually stays with us no more than a day. This time, he was with us for five whole days.”

    Since flooding blocked seminary rector Fr Supriyadi, Bosio and other young Catholics took advantage of the situation and organised events the local community wanted blessed.

    Many couples with more than 40 years of marriage renewed their wedding vows. The priest convinced them to make public statement about their relationship so as to encourage young people to look with hope towards marriage.

    Many young people went for confession and asked for spiritual assistance.

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    See also

    21/06/2006 INDONESIA
    Mass wedding in Indonesia
    In one swoop, 3,500 couples will join in matrimony. The event is the brainchild of local authorities. The purpose is to help poor couples who might not otherwise be able to afford the cost of getting married.

    10/01/2011 INDONESIA
    Priests put up with oceans of mud and great distances to teach catechism
    In the diocese of Ketapang, most Catholics live in remote, hard to get places. However, pastoral work does not stop, as evinced by the stories of Mgr Blasius Pujaraharja, the local bishop, and Fr Alexander Joko Purwanto Pr. Both stress that bringing the word of God needs a sound mind in a sound body.

    29/04/2013 INDONESIA
    Borneo: bishop, priests and laity united against corruption and Church's "internal problems"
    Evangelisation and participation in community life were discussed at the Pastoral Conference of the Diocese of Palangkaraya. The meeting ended with a reminder to all Catholics about their role and the social issues they face. The conference also provided an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St Mary's Cathedral in the presence of thousands of faithful.

    25/06/2013 INDONESIA
    Education and health care, Franciscan nuns on a mission among the tribes of Papua
    The community belongs to the diocese of Agats-Asmat, in the ecclesiastical province of Merauke. A remote area, the last Mass was celebrated at Easter. In recent days Bishop Murwito visited the area with a delegation of Franciscan nuns and a group of activists. From next December two nuns will arrive to assist development.

    04/11/2014 INDONESIA
    Indonesian Priest: Enthusiasm of mission among Papua’s remote tribal areas
    For the past five months Fr. Titus Budiyanto, a native of Sumatra, has worked in the parish of St. Peter in Kampung Bupul in the Diocese of Merauke. The Marian month of October, "a source of spiritual reconciliation among the faithful". On the evening of 31, the eve of All Saints, he baptized 20 children.



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