The new priests include two who are set to go as missionaries to Poland and the Amazon. The Catholic Church in Indonesia is enjoying a rise in vocations to the religious life. In recent decades, more and more Indonesian priests, religious and nuns have gone abroad.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Diocese of Malang in East Java province celebrated seven priestly ordinations in a single day.
The ceremony, led by Mgr Henricus Pidyarto Gunawan, was held last Thursday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in the presence of about a thousand worshippers and over 100 priests.
The new priests are all former students of the bishop of Malang in 2016, who used to teach at the Widya Sasana Theology and Philosophy School (Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat Teologi Widya Sasana, STFT), a Catholic divinity school.
The new ordinations highlight a positive trend for the Catholic Church in Indonesia as the number of vocations to the religious life rises, including those to the priesthood. In fact, dozens of new priests are ordained in the country’s major seminaries every year.
At the same time, more and more Indonesian priests, religious and nuns have gone abroad over the years to serve as missionaries or take up prominent positions in various orders and communities.
The seven young men ordained by Mgr Pidyarto include a diocesan priest, a Carmelite and three from the Congregation of the Disciples of the Lord (CDD), plus two members of the Society of the Divine Word (Verbites, SVD), Fr Fransiskus Mayrezky Diaz and Fr Yohanes Baptis Joni. Both are set to become missionaries, the first to Poland and the other to the Amazon (Brazil).
Fr Fransiskus, 38, was born in in the Archdiocese of Palembang, Jambi province, Sumatra. He completed his studies at the St Paul minor seminary in Palembang (South Sumatra province). After joining the Java-Bali Verbite community, he completed his education in Philosophy and Theology at the STFT in Malang.
Fr Fransiskus made his provisional vows on 15 August 2012 followed by final vows last year. The new priest spent a period of pastoral experience at St Christopher parish in Siborong-Borong, Archdiocese of Medan (North Sumatra province).
Fr Yohanes, 32, was born in Labuan Bajo, on the predominantly Catholic island of Flores (East Nusa Tenggara province). Like his confrere, he too completed his studies at Malang and made final vows in 2018.
During his period of pastoral experience (2016-2018), Fr Yohanes served in Josef Freinademetz parish in Telok Katingan, Diocese of Palangka Raya (Central Kalimantan province).
(Laurensius Suryono, of the diocese of Malang, contribute to this article. Photo credit: Gerry Newan).