01/19/2016, 15.18
INDONESIA
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Confession and forgiving, mercy for married Catholic couples in Bogor

by Mathias Hariyadi

Catholic couples take part in a retreat to talk about married life and approach reconciliation together. The exercise includes Eucharistic adoration, prayer and confession, followed by a moment of "public confession". For one participant, learning new things from friends was a moment of great joy.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Some 30 Catholic couples met on 9 and 10 January in Villa Martha, a resort in Megamendung District  (Bogor Regency, West Java province), for their annual meeting.

The group came together to reflect on married life, share happy moments but also difficulties and challenges, renew their marriage vows as well as pray, confess and forgive.

As he did last year, Fr Rusbani Iwan Setiawan, a former Jesuit and now diocesan priest in Bandung, led the exercises. For the latter, he invited participants to spend time in Eucharistic adoration before the Blessed Sacrament to renew their marital vows before priest and friends. However, this year, this was preceded by acts of confession and forgiveness, and was followed by spiritual exercises centred on the theme ‘The family is a blessing’.

The two-day retreat also included a session of "public confession" in which each couple took to the stage to share with others their thoughts, feelings and views about each other.

As participants shared their stories, some said that finding a mate represented "the greatest blessing" they ever experienced. Others talked about very personal, intimate moments in their long conjugal life.

One woman "complained" about her husband’s aloofness, but added that she still loved him and was faithful to him, in spite of problems and challenges. The husband listened carefully to his wife’s "public confession". Touched by it, he pledged to "change" his behaviour.

For Yos Sudarman, this is his first retreat. "I went there to see with my own eyes what happens when one is on the stage,” he said. Now “I experienced great joy in learning new things from new friends".

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. The latter are an active part of society, and, over the years, have contributed to the country’s development, playing a major role in emergency operations, as was the case during the devastating floods of January 2013.

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. The latter are an active part of society, and, over the years, have contributed to the country’s development, playing a major role in emergency operations, as was the case during the devastating floods of January 2013.

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