07/14/2014, 00.00
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Indonesian Catholic Scouts gather for 'Unity in Diversity' in Malang

by Mathias Hariyadi
The biennial event attracts members of the clergy and educators. This year's edition brought 3,000 youth from 15 Indonesian dioceses. The meeting highlighted the pluralistic nature of Indonesian society, characterised by a plurality of ethnic groups, languages, religions and cultures.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Starting with the theme of "Unity in Diversity", almost 2,700 young Catholic Scouts - boys and girls - from various dioceses in Indonesia took part in week of meetings and exchanges that included seminars, workshops and moments of fun and games.

The event was recently held at the headquarters of the National Catholic Education Council (Majelis Nasional Pendidikan Katolik or MNPK) in the Diocese of Malang in East Java province, and saw the participation of many priests who contributed to the activities.

The meeting emphasised the pluralist nature of Indonesian society, which is defined by many religions, ethnic groups, languages ​​and cultures.

"It is an event that happens every two years," Dionisius Puguh Agus Santosa told AsiaNews. He is an educator from the Diocese of Banjarmasin, in the province of South Kalimantan, who was involved in organising the event.

The Diocese of Malang was chosen for 2014; the Archdiocese of Semarang was picked for the next edition.

Thousands of young people came from seven dioceses and special territories of the island of Java (Jakarta, Semarang, Malang, Surabaya, Bandung, Bogor, Purwokerto and Yogyakarta, Kedu, Surakarta).

Representatives from other islands of the archipelago were also present, said Santosa, a high school teacher, "for a total of at least 15 dioceses involved in this national Catholic Scouts meeting."

Participants were divided into five different areas of the diocese, supervised by 12 priests for each group.

Adhyaksa Dault, former Indonesian Youth and Sport Minister and head of the National Scout Movement, attended the biennial meeting.

In addition to the spirit of sharing and promotion of diversity, the weeklong seminar devoted particular attention to the issue of globalisation, with a workshop dedicated to "the development of the global village", with materials and contributions from different religions and faiths.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. Catholics number only seven million or 3 per cent of the population. In the Archdiocese of Jakarta, they are around 3.6 per cent. By and large, Catholics are proud of the movement's initiative.

Although the constitution guarantees freedom of religion, Christians have suffered from acts of violence and abuse, especially where extremist versions of Islam, like in Aceh, are entrenched.

Despite everything, Catholics have contributed to the nation's development and play a major role in emergency operations, as was the case during the devastating floods of January 2013.

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