Papua Catholics celebrate the ordination of new priests and deacons
The ceremony took place in the Diocese of Timika, scene of separatist violence in the past. The bishop of Bandung led the ceremony in lieu of Bishop Murwito still recovering from COVID-19. One of the newly ordained priests is a Jakarta-born ethnic Chinese whose vocation developed in the daily relationship with Papua natives, especially the little ones.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Indonesian Church celebrated the ordinations of new new priests and deacons in the Diocese of Timika, Papua province.
The ceremonies took place last week, on 12 and 14 October led by Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin of Bandung (West Java).
The first ordination on 12 October involved three priests in Bilogai (Intan Jaya), scene of violent clashes between Indonesian security forces and Papua’s independence movement.
The second, two days later, was held in St Peter's parish church in Mauwa (Dogiyai), where the prelate ordained two deacons and five priests.
Bishop Bunjamin celebrated the two services in lieu of Bishop Aloysius Murwito of Agats who is still struggling with the consequences of contracting COVID-19.
Currently, the Diocese of Timika is still without a bishop following the death of Bishop John Philip Saklil, a charismatic prelate who died suddenly in August 2019 due to a heart attack. Fr Marthen Ekowaibi Kuayo is the diocesan administrator the diocese at present.
The new priests are: Fr Fransiskus Sondegau, Fr Joseph Bunai, Fr Yeskiel Belau, Fr Silvester Bobii, Fr Silvester Dogomo, Fr Vincentius Budi Nahiba, Fr Febronius Angelo, Fr Paulus Leo Patty Yeruwuyan, and Fr Ricky Icarol Yeuyanan. The new deacons are: Emanuel Richardus Buanglela and Ricky Icarol Yeuyanan
For each diocese in Indonesia and for the local Church, the ordination of new priests is a reason for celebration and pride, even more so for the Diocese of Timika, a vast territory that stretches south from central Papua to the north of the great island.
The territory is made up of 30 parishes entrusted to the pastoral care of only 22 diocesan priests and 21 priests of other orders, 74 religious and seminarians and 44 nuns. Catholics number 114,680 out of a population of 1.2 million.
One of the new ordained priests is a Jakarta-born, ethnic Chinese who decided to respond to the calling and live his vocation in a remote area of the country.
Fr Vincentius Budi Nahiba told AsiaNews that he arrived in the Diocese of Timika "when I was still a layman" and was a "volunteer teacher in Waghete, a remote region of the diocese" thanks to a programme promoted by the local Jesuit province.
In his “daily” and “intense” relationship with native Papuans, “especially the little ones”, he felt “the calling to serve them as a priest”.