Monday, February 26, 2007

Catholic actvists in Merauke support province split

Catholic bishops of Papua and Papua Barat (West Papua) provinces have called on Catholic young people to uphold and revive human values in service and ministry. The five bishops of Indonesian New Guinea made the call in a joint letter to the Indonesian national working meeting of Pemuda Katolik (Catholic Youth Association) in Merauke, 3,670 kilometers east of Jakarta, in Papua province's southern territory.

The bishops presented the letter on 13 February at the opening session of the four-day meeting with the theme Awaken and Move: Historical and Cultural Basics of Catholic Church to Develop New Habitus for the Nation.

The five bishops – of Merauke Archdiocese and Agats, Jayapura, Manokwari-Sorong and Timika dioceses – shared values, virtues and moral guideposts in the letter, read by Sacred Heart Archbishop Nicolaus Adi Seputra of Merauke, for 114 budding activists at the meeting's opening on 13 February. Franciscan Bishop Aloysius Murwito of Agats was also present.

"Human values need to be upheld and revived continuously among young Catholics, especially those preparing to be leaders," the bishops said in the letter, "these values need to be given top priority."

The bishops urged the activists to follow Jesus, who worked with clear vision and mission. Jesus Christ, wrote the bishops, "struggled unto death for the realization of vision and mission ... making himself a servant, even by sacrificing himself unto death on the cross."

The meeting was a good opportunity for young Catholics to review and improve service activities, the bishops added. The Papua church leaders hope the work meeting will be followed by concrete activities, preparing Catholic cadres nationwide.

Marningrot Tua Natalis Situmorang, national board chairman of Pemuda Katolik, told UCA News at the end of the meeting that participants produced a number of programs to be implemented by all chapters nationwide, including consolidation of the organization, development of national membership, and leadership training.

The meeting, he added, also produced a statement of support for the establishment of a South Papua province to be split from Papua province. The proposed province, based on local people's aspirations, would include Asmat, Boven Digoel, Mappi and Merauke districts.

On 15 February, Saifullah Yusuf, State Minister for the Accelerated Development of Disadvantaged Regions, urged Pemuda Katolic's young activists to empower the poor.

The national working meeting was closed with a Holy Mass led by Archbishop Seputra, with Father Johanes Kandam, the archdiocese's vicar general, and Sacred Heart Father Miller Senduk concelebrating.

Established in 1929 in Yogyakarta with the motto Pro ecclesia et patria (for church and country), the Indonesia Catholic youth association gathers and unites Catholic youth, building mature personalities, and responsible, dedicated citizens and church members. The association holds national congresses to elect leaders, and national working meetings to set programs and develop projects.

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