02/04/2012, 00.00
INDONESIA

Central Java, Catholic Church celebrates a boom in vocations

Mathias Hariyadi
After three years of decline, a sharp increase in requests for admission to the seminaries. The St. Peter Canisius in Mertoyudan, run by Jesuits, is celebrating the 100 year with a record number of students. Most come from the archdiocese of Semarang.Bishop of Purwokerto: "huge number".
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - With over 250 students and seminarians in the new year, the number of candidates to the priesthood in Central Java has experienced a sharp growth, after three years of slow decline. The Indonesian Church is celebrating this u-turn, as confirmed rectors of seminaries and diocesan bishops. Father Gandhi Hartono SJ, professor and dean of the Minor Seminary of St. Peter Canisius, Mertoyudan in Magelang regency, reports that the Jesuit school is ready to welcome over 150 candidates from hundreds of scattered parishes in the Archdiocese of Semarang, in Diocese of Purwokerto and other areas of the province of Central Java. The same enthusiasm is apparent from the comments of the rector of the seminary, Fr. Ignatius Sumaryo SJ, who confirms that the greatest number of future seminarians comes from Semarang.

In June 2012 the Minor Seminary of St. Peter Canisius celebrates 100 years of life. An important goal for the institution, property of the Archdiocese of Semarang, but run by Jesuit priests along with the "natives" of the area. Many of the priests now active in Indonesia - including bishops, cardinals or consecrated - were once students at this facility.

In the island of Java there are three minor seminaries: Wacana Bhakti in South Jakarta, owned by the local archdiocese, St. Vincent de Paul in Garum, in East Java, belonging to the Diocese of Surabaya and the Yogyakarta Berthinianum postulate, run by the Missionaries of the Sacred Family.

Father Gandhi Hartono SJ says that 85 young seminarians in their 9th year and another twenty in their 12th year will join the Mertoyudan seminary, who have only two years of studies to aspire to the priesthood, with a specific focus of the study of Latin, English and Scripture . He confirms that the desire for the priesthood "is growing" an increase "of 15-20% on an annual basis." "This year we have 256 students – he adds - compared to 'only' 225, 198 and 166 of previous years."

The Indonesian Catholic community is celebrating the growth of vocations, as confirmed by the Bishop of Purwokerto Mgr. Julianus Sunarka SJ who exclaims: "the number is huge." The prelate added that his diocese holds the record of 76 priests - diocesan and from various congregations - while the religious sisters count 210, and men 33, the faithful finally, one million,.

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