The Indonesian Bishops' Conference celebrates its centenary
by Mathias Hariyadi

The first meetings between prefects and apostolic vicars took place in 1924, when the country was still a Dutch colony. On the anniversary an extraordinary assembly and the inauguration of the new office building. The government representative for relations with Catholics: ‘Let us work together for the most neglected areas of the country’. 

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Indonesian Episcopal Conference (KWI) is meeting in recent days for an extraordinary Assembly on the occasion of the celebrations of its centenary. The country's bishops in fact trace the origin of their common path to a meeting of all the prefects and apostolic vicars of the then Dutch colony which was held on 13 May 1924 in the cathedral of Jakarta.

On the occasion of these celebrations tomorrow there will also be the blessing of the new offices of the Episcopal Conference. “Walking together for the good of the Church and the nation” is the theme chosen for this event, which comes a few months after the visit of Pope Francis scheduled for September.

At the opening session of the Assembly yesterday afternoon, the apostolic nuncio Msgr. Piero Pioppo, the head of the department of relations with Catholics of the Indonesian Ministry for Religious Affairs (Kemenag), Mr. Suparman, and the president of the Synod of the Protestant Church, Gomar Gultom.

Monsignor Pioppo underlined the attention of the Indonesian Episcopal Conference to live this anniversary under the sign of synodality. “The bishops want to live their current mission in continuity with the past - said the nuncio -. In the style of Jesus and his disciples, they have never neglected their mission to grow the Church and the nation." The prelate also said he was certain that Pope Francis' visit will also give further impetus to this path.

On behalf of the government, Mr. Suparman declared the civil authorities' willingness to collaborate with the Church for the development of the nation. This closeness he explained to AsiaNews is aimed in particular at commitment in the outskirts of the country.

The official from the Ministry for Religious Affairs also promises financial aid, especially for communities in the most neglected remote areas who want to renovate places of worship and educational facilities. “Our attention is aimed above all at the people who live in these areas.”

For his part, the president of the Episcopal Conference Msgr. Antonius Subianto, bishop of Bandung, expressed his confidence in the path of the Church in Indonesia and in its ability to collaborate with all other groups in society for the good of the country.