05/12/2014, 00.00
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Banjarmasin diocese reflects on media, to meet the challenges of evangelization

by Mathias Hariyadi

The seminar was attended by nuns, seminarians, high school and college students, the simple faithful. An opportunity for encounter and discussion, in a diocese that consists of only nine distant and isolated parishes. Sr. Mary describes the initiative as "a great inspiration"; for Sr. Stefani it is a means to "connect with the modern world".

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A three-day workshop devoted to writing, photography and journalism to strengthen the field of social communications and respond to the challenges of evangelization through the new media. This was the initiative recently promoted by the Diocese of Banjarmasin, to strengthen contact among the faithful in the diocese who are geographically and socially "dispersed" throughout the whole South Kalimantan Province. Unlike many other communities, such as the Diocese of Java, Banjarmasin is formed by "only" nine parishes; for example it takes up to seven hours from Banjarmasin to reach the church of the Hail Mary in Tanjung. For this reason, the leaders of the local Catholic community, after persistent requests from local priests, organized a seminar in the house of prayer Banjarbaru Sikhar, which involved 30 participants from throughout the diocese.

The group was made up of very different people: nuns, seminarians, high school and college students, and the simple faithful from remote areas as well as from the city. The seminar was an opportunity to meet and for discussion as well as promote further knowledge and the use of photography, the visual arts , writing and, in particular, the internet for preaching the Word of God .

At the end of the seminar, the participants were able to interview Fr. Lingai , superior of the Missionaries of the Holy Family ( MSF) in the province of Kalimantan and other priests who have dedicated their lives to the evangelization of the tribals. Others have recounted the experience of the nuns who work in novice formation. Some of these interviews were included in a special copy of the diocesan newspaper and, at a later posted on the website of the diocese.

Sister Maria Mikaella, of the parish of Hail Maria in Tanjung, said she is grateful to the Banjarmasin Commission for Social Communications "for this initiative a source of great inspiration." Other participants appreciated the character of "interconnection", encounter and dialogue between the different realities of the diocese which are so distant and separated [at least geographically]. Sister Stefani Restituta said it was a way to "connect with the modern world, where there are no limits of space and time in communications." Speaking to AsiaNews at the conclusion of the seminar Fr. Doni Tupen MSF said that such a program will also be exercised to newly ordained priests as a project of their ongoing formation in getting to know the world of online media better as an effective tool to proclaim the Word of God.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation in the world (86 per cent, mostly Sunni). Although it upholds constitutional principles of basic personal freedoms (including religious freedom), it has increasingly become the scene of violence and abuse against minorities. Christians represent 5.7 per cent of the population with Catholics just over 3 per cent. Hindus are 1.8 per cent; 3.4 per cent belong to other religions. Catholics are a small minority of about seven million people, or about 3 per cent of the country's population (3.6 per cent in the Archdiocese of Jakarta).


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