09/03/2016, 10.43
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Malang, 10 thousand faithful welcome their new bishop

by Matthias Hariyadi

Msgr. Henricus Pidyarto Gunawan, a Carmelite, was received this morning in the Gajayama stage. He succeeds Msgr. Herman Joseph Sahadat Pandoyoputro, resigned to the age limit. Tomorrow morning there will be the first mass as bishop. Increasing priestly vocations throughout the country.

Malang (AsiaNews) - Since this morning, the Diocese of Malang (East Java) have a new bishop. Msgr. Henricus Pidyarto Gunawan, Carmelite, took office in place of Msgr. Herman Joseph Sahadat Pandoyoputro, whose resignation on having reached retirement age was accepted by Pope Francis. Nearly 10 thousand faithful have flocked to Gajayana stadium to greet their new pastor.

Last night, 37 bishops led a prayer vigil for Msgr. Pidyarto Gunawan in the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel in Malang, which was attended by hundreds of Catholics from all areas of the diocese. Tomorrow the new bishop will celebrate his first mass as bishop.

Msgr. Pidyarto Gunawan has taught for 30 years in the institute Holy Scriptures "STFT Widya Sasana" Malang, high school of theology and philosophy in which Carmelites and religious of other congregations are formed.

Through the website of the Episcopal Conference, Msgr. Pidyarto Gunawan has highlighted the lines of his pastoral work, which will focus on cooperation with non-Christian communities by promoting interfaith activities. In addition, the new bishop will ensure that the Scriptures become more "familiar" for the local Catholics, so that the whole diocese benefits.

The city of Malang and East Java are Muslim majority and are home to 70% of the 80 million members of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest of Indonesia's moderate Islamic movements.

The Indonesian Church is experiencing a moment of expansion, and together with conversions vocations to the priesthood are also increasing. On August 25, 12 priests were ordained in Malang; August 30 it was the turn of three Xaverian priests of the Archdiocese of Medan (North Sumatra). Many of the new priests are destined for foreign missions, especially in East Africa, Latin America and Europe. 

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