Indonesian Catholics are fighting off the temptation becoming laid back in terms of their faith by becoming actively involved in their parishes.

Auckland Indonesian community president Budiharsana Lay, who is also with the Indonesian chaplaincy pastoral council, said there is a great difference between practising the faith here and in Indonesia.

“In Indonesia, we are a minority. When your faith is oppressed and there are a lot of challenges, your faith grows more. When we moved here, it’s so quiet and stable, there are no challenges,” he said.

He said there are about 700 to 800 Indonesian Catholics, half of whom are registered with the chaplaincy. He said a number of them serve as eucharistic ministers while their children are encouraged to be altar servers.

From left, Budiharsana Lay and Fr Redemptus Jawa, CSSR.

Mr Lay was the team leader of the group that organised the celebration of the Indonesian Independence Day at the Target Primary School in Auckland on August 19, the Saturday after the actual Independence Day which was August 17.

Indonesian Community chaplain Fr Redemptus Jawa, CSSR, acting parish priest
of Glendowie, said theirs is an interesting community.

“Even though we all come from Indonesia, we come from different ethnicities and (each ethnicity) has their own local language. But we are bound together by the national language, Bahasa,” he explained. “That is why we organised this event to share with the community.”

Fr Jawa opened the ceremony with a special prayer. “We have faith in Jesus and we have love for our country as well,” he said.

He said one of the challenges he faces as chaplain is to make sure that the young people in their community maintain their faith.

“Most of the young people are more familiar with English than Bahasa, so they prefer to go to English Mass,” he said.

“I don’t know if they go to English Mass or like other young people, are keeping their distance from the Church and their faith. That’s the great challenge for me, how to bring the Gospel that can touch the lives of young people today,” he said.

Children perform at Indonesia Independence Day.

Mr Lay said the parents encourage their children to take active roles in the Church as well as join the youth groups.

He said they are also interested in having a joint intercultural activity with Catholics of other ethnicities.

“The Indonesian Catholic community is not as big as other ethnic Catholic community, like Chinese, Indian . . . but we try to connect to other communities,” Mr Lay said.

“In one faith, we can come together and build a stronger platform on how we can bring the Gospel to others.”

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