01/29/2013, 00.00
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Borneo, theological institute for religious and laity, to promote Gospel proclamation

St. John of the Cross founded in Pontianak, with the motto "To love God and to make Him be loved." It is a sign of the richness of the local Church, where faith "bears fruit." Indonesian priest: the world needs Christian witness, where Jesus is "the center of life."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A center where people can learn to "love God and make Him be loved," as its motto reads, a place to deepen formation in the Gospel and to fulfill the work of proclamation which is the "duty of every Christian." In this spirit the theological and philosophical Institute St. John of the Cross was born in a district of Pontianak, the capital of the Indonesian province of Kalimantan West, on the island of Borneo, which opened a few days ago. As Fr. Yohanes Indrakusuma tells AsiaNews, the center is dedicated to the Spanish religious and the poet of the sixteenth century reformer of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, because he is "both a theologian and Doctor of the Church."

On completion of construction, the institute has taken shape and was inaugurated in an official capacity on 12 January by the Archbishop of Pontianak. The directors of the project say that over time other structures will be added including a spiritual and research center, dormitories and a convent for monks and nuns. It is a sign of the richness of the Indonesian Church, where faith "is alive" and bears fruit "even in a largely Muslim nation."

Born in 1938 in a small town in East Java from a family of Chinese origin, Fr. Yohanes Indrakusuma studied theology in Rome and Paris, after having been ordained a priest in 1967. Active in several areas of the archipelago, he is convinced that the Institute of Theology will "exert a great influence" on the future of the Catholic Church in Indonesia. The goal is to "form people with a deep faith", where Jesus Christ, is "the center of their lives, regardless of whether they are priests, religious or lay people active in pastoral ministry".

The world needs Christian witness, says Fr. Yohanes, one that is able to remind everyone that "Christ is a living presence", that touches both the laity, as well as priests and nuns. "We realized - said the priest - that not only priests and religious need to become men and women of God, but also all the laity who will be formed at the Theological Institute of St. John of the Cross" so that they can become "truly men and women of God who live in the Holy Spirit "and to be" an instrument in His hands. "

In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, Catholics are a small minority of about seven million people, 3% of the total population. In the Archdiocese of Jakarta, the faithful reach 3.6% of the population. The constitution provides for freedom of religion, but the community is the victim of acts of violence, discrimination and abuse, especially in areas where extremist view of Islam is more entrenched, such as the Yasmin Church in Bogor (West Java) or Hkbp Philadelphia in Bekasi. However, in several areas Catholics remain an active part of society and contribute to the development of the nation or the work of aid during emergencies (see AsiaNews 18/01/2013 Jakarta, Catholics aid flood victims) .


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