07/11/2017, 17.41
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More than 700 local Catholics at the Missionary Youth Jamboree in Papua

by Mathias Hariyadi

The event was organised by the Pontifical Missionary Children’s Society of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference. The “sound of the tifa to proclaim biblical joy on Papuan land,” i.e. an invitation to spread the Word with joy and energy, was the meeting’s theme. For an organiser, SEKAMI Kids “are the future and hope of the Church". For Bishop Hilarion Datus Lega, "Young people have something great to offer to society: their joy."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The five-day Papua SEKAMI Remaja (youth) Jamboree in Aimas, about 25km from Sorong (diocese of Sorong-Manokwari), was a real success and great motive of joy for local Catholics.

About 730 young teenagers and 140 adults from Papua’s two provinces met at the Van Diepen Minor Seminary to celebrate the common goal of "being Catholic", namely the mission.

The theme adopted by meeting organisers was "The sound of the tifa to proclaim biblical joy on Papua land". The tifa is a traditional musical instrument that the region’s indigenous people play at dances and ritual ceremonies.

It is part of Papua’s cultural heritage. Locals have been called to spread the Word in the same joyous, energetic and vibrant way with which the sound of this instrument enlivens their lives.

Papua and Western Papua are two of Indonesia's largest and remotest provinces. The lack of infrastructure and the high cost of transportation make it very difficult to organise such events.

Despite the difficulties, Ms Lieke Sompie Makatuuk and Sr Mary Grace CB managed to do it in early July.

On the first day of the meeting, Ms Makatuuk, head of the organising committee, told participants that "SEKAMI Kids are the pride and the most valuable thing for all parents. They are the future and hope of the Church. As parents, it is our duty to raise them in Catholic values."

SEKAMI stands for Serikat Kepausan Anak Misioner, i.e. Pontifical Missionary Children’s Society, a body set up by the Indonesian Bishops' Conference (KWI) to promote the faith and missionary spirit among Catholic teenagers.

The kids who took part in the event came to Aimas from Papua’s one archdiocese and four dioceses: Merauke, Jayapura, Timika, Agats and the host Manokwari-Sorong.

The local bishop, Mgr Hilarion Datus Lega, led the opening ceremony along with other 26 priests. Speaking to the locals, he said, "You are the future of the Catholic Church in Papua."

During the Mass, he stressed the importance of engaging in pastoral activities like the one in Aims for they are fundamental to the life of the Church.

"The participation of young people is even more indispensable,” Bishop Lega said, “since they have something great to offer to society: their joy."

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