05/05/2021, 13.43
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Indonesian Catholics donate blood for remote areas of Papua

by Mathias Hariyadi

Simon, a member of Christ the King parish in Pejompongan (Central Jakarta), is behind the initiative. During Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer, donations drop creating supply shortages. Veronica and Simon of Cyrene in the Way of the Cross are the inspiration for the initiative to benefit the Diocese of Agats, one of the country’s poorest areas.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – An Indonesian Christian from Christ the King Parish in Pejompongan (Central Jakarta) has launched a campaign to collect blood donations for remote and distressed areas of Papua, particularly the Diocese of Agats.

This is a particularly urgent during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer, since blood supplies and donations to the Indonesian Red Cross Society (Palang Merah Indonesia) tend to drastically drop, creating shortages.

The Diocese of Agats is located in one of the remotest parts of the country, an area characterised by muddy soil, which does not allow farming, except for a few mangrove trees and saltwater trees.

Reaching it from Jakarta requires a long trip by various means of transportation, including large planes, ultralight aircrafts and speedboats.

Given such difficulties, Simon (the Christian promoter of the initiative) launched the project “Blood donation for the Diocese of Agats”.

His inspiration comes from the Way of the Cross and the actions of Simone di Cyrene and Veronica at stations 5 and 6. He chose the diocese because it is “among the most unfortunate territories” of the country where it is difficult to find natural resources.

Donating blood during Ramadan is one of the most important ways to “exercise the spirit of compassion.”

Simon will donate 10,000 Indonesian rupees (about a dollar) of his own money to those who join the initiative, set between 4 and 22 May. Already some 50 people have donated blood in exchange for the symbolic fee, a gesture that is very meaningful with huge value.

Recently Simon pitched his project to young people and the media linked to the Archdiocese of Jakarta in order to reach a wider pool of possible donors, but this elicited no positive response.

Nevertheless, after the initiative was featured last night on the Sesawi Catholic news portal interest increased and the first anonymous benefactors arrived.

“Donating blood,” Simon points out to AsiaNews, “is an act of deep humanity, which goes beyond social status and race.” It “is a humanitarian response to emergency situations that transcend borders and allows other lives to be saved”.

During Ramadan, when blood supplies “run low,” this is especially important. “For non-Muslims, it is a good time to act”.

Lastly, Simon notes: “As Catholics, we are all Veronica and Simon in contemplation in the face of Jesus' sufferings.”

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