Card Suharyo tells Jakarta Catholics that compassion ‘makes the world better’ (photos-video)
by Mathias Hariyadi

The archbishop led a Mass to mark his cardinalship. Scores of Catholic figures and hundreds of former seminarians attended the service. The cardinal told the faithful to be compassionate and “follow up the good hopes for the Saviour's arrival, showing mercy to your neighbours.”


Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Card Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, archbishop of Jakarta and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI), led a Mass to mark his elevation to the cardinalship.

In his homily, he said that compassion "makes the world better", adding that in the period of Advent, "we are called to prepare ourselves to welcome into our daily life the world’s Saviour. However, to welcome Christ into our hearts, there is no need to wait until the day of judgment: we must receive the Coming of the Kingdom of God now, in our deep self.”

The service (video) took place last Saturday at the Indonesia Catholic University in Atma Jaya, Semanggi (South Jakarta).

Tens of important Catholics were present, including former minister Marie Pangestu, and hundreds of former seminarians, in four groups: Paguyuban Gembala Utama (PGU, the Good Shepherd Association), Paguyuban Lingkar Sahabat (PaLingSah), Berkat Santo Yusup (BKSY) and CP-61 (the cardinal's 1961 cohort at the Mertoyudan minor seminary).

Card Suharyo told those present that he was utterly surprised when he heard that he had been elevated to the rank of cardinal. The Holy See, he explained, is aware of the work of Indonesian Church, in particular in the capital, following the path laid down by the Second Vatican Council:

"The joys and hopes, sadness and anguish of people today, of the poor above all and all those who suffer, are also the joys and hopes, sadness and anguish of the disciples of Christ” (Gaudium et spes).

In order to respond again to the call of the Universal Church, the Archdiocese of Jakarta launched a fundraiser for the Diocese of Agats, in one of the poorest and remotest areas of Papua province.

Card Suharyo spent a few days in the diocese during the celebrations marking its 50th anniversary. At the mass, the archbishop talked about his journey in order to promote the spirit of compassion of his community towards less fortunate Catholics.

“After a long flight I arrived in Ewer, with its traditional ‘bush’ airport. From there I took a fast boat to Asmat, the district in the heart of the diocese.

“A few years ago, in 2011, it took me almost eight hours on a small motorboat to reach the village of Momogu, where locals suffered from leprosy. I was moved and so I raised money among Jakarta Catholics, so that these disadvantaged people could be treated.

“Last week, during the anniversary celebrations, they told me that there is no leprosy in Momogu.”

The cardinal insisted that “We are called today to be compassionate towards our neighbours, now. We must follow up our good hopes for the Saviour's arrival by showing great mercy to others.”

Lastly, the Mass offered a chance for a special fundraising for two projects. One is by PGU aimed at supporting education in 14 major and 40 minor Indonesian seminaries. The other is sponsored by BKSY under the patronage of the archdiocese and is designed to help the poorest families to pay funeral costs for their dearly departed.