Widodo expressed appreciation for the Catholic music festival
Choirs from across Indonesia competed in Ambon (Maluku). Government officials, civil society groups and the Bishop’s Conference were part of the organising committee. "Let us build together national unity and take care of a pluralistic society,” said Bishop Suharyo.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – "All Indonesians celebrated brotherhood and national unity" at the National Catholic Religious Music Festival (Pesta Paduan Suara Gerejani-Pesparani), held in Ambon between 27 October and 2 November), said President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during his meeting with 39 bishops two days ago at the Presidential Palace in Bogor (West Java).
The bishops were not alone at the meeting. Government officials were also present, including Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin; Eusebius Binsasi, director of the Directorate General for Catholic Community Guidance at the Religious Affairs Ministry; Maluku Governor Said Assagaf; and Presidential Chief of Staff General Moeldoko.
During the meeting, Widodo said that "it is not important who won the Pesparani," but the values that the event promoted.
"From the many voices in the choir we learn to exercise self-control and put into practice social tolerance,” the president added. “Sometimes you need a soprano; in others, a contralto, a bass or a tenor. Each participates as 'one voice' and nobody must be dominant."
Mgr Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, archbishop of Jakarta and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI), thanked the government for its support for the festival.
"The message sent by Ambon is clear: 'Let us build together national unity and take care of our pluralistic society,” the prelate said.
The visit ended with the winning choir, which hails from East Kalimantan province (Indonesian Borneo), performing for the president.
The bishops then left for Bandung, where their annual assembly ended yesterday.
(Photo credit: State Palace's Information Bureau)