Church celebrates the end of Ramadan with bazaars and interfaith meetings
by Mathias Hariyadi

In addition to sharing iftar, the meal that breaks the fast during the Islamic holy month, with Muslims, Indonesian Catholics tried to show closeness and solidarity via seminars, youth meetings but also bazaars, selling basic necessities at very low prices to help less fortunate families. “I pray the month of Ramadan may always generate love, peace and harmony in our society,” said the archbishop of Palembang.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The celebrations for the end of Ramadan brought together Catholics and Muslims to promote through various initiatives the "spirit of interfaith harmony" envisaged by the Fathers of the nation.

This ranged from shared meals to "special bazaars" where basic necessities were sold at discounted prices for less well-off families.

Several Catholic communities came together to celebrate Eid al Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the holy month of Muslims.

The Daughters of Mary and Joseph in Wonosobo (Central Java) organised a dinner at the Dena Upakara school attended by children affected by various disabilities.

"We invited civil and religious authorities for a shared meal,” said one of the nuns, Sister Alphonsa. “This also allowed us to celebrate the 80 years of work of our congregation in Indonesia."

In Pontianak (West Kalimantan), Passionist nuns worked with the Indonesian Catholic Women's Association (WKRI) to hand out free meals to passersby near the local cathedral. Some 15 volunteers, coordinated by the sisters, gave away about 300 "takjil".

“It is an initiative with a double meaning: on the one hand we help people; on the other we leave the routine of our daily life and immerse ourselves in society to do good," said one of the nuns.

The parish of Gombong (Central Java) chose instead to celebrate the end of Ramadan by bringing together people from several religions. About 200 Muslims, Protestants, Buddhists and Catholics met in St Michael’s Church to break the fast together and talk about tolerance and living together.

"We have also received the praise of the civil authorities,” said the parish priest, Fr Augustinus Handi Setyanto PR, speaking to AsiaNews. “Talking about tolerance and pluralism cannot and must not remain an empty slogan but should become a practical activity."

The Archbishop of Palembang, Mgr Aloysius Sudarso, turned instead his attention to young people.

"Our kids,” he said during an event on Wednesday, “organised this beautiful initiative in which not only we eat together but we also show the joy of which the Gospel speaks. Living in harmony should always be the star of our dialogue. I pray the month of Ramadan may always generate love, peace and harmony in our society."

Finally, the parish of St Teresa in Bongsari (Semarang) thought of the poorest families and organised a public bazaar open to everyone with basic necessities sold at a very special price. "This,” said Fr Didik Cahyono, “is the way we chose to show our happiness and solidarity."

Photo Credit: Vincentius Dimas