Indonesian Catholics urged to be vigilant in Holy Week

holy weeek

As there has been an increase in violence committed against parishes throughout Indonesia, Church officials in the country have urged Catholics to be vigilant, especially during Holy Week.

“We call on each parish and mission station to stay alert ahead of the observance of Holy Week and Easter,” said Father Felix Astono Atmojo, vicar-general of Palembang Archdiocese in South Sumatra.

He also called on Catholics to continue building good relations with people from other religious backgrounds.

In Semarang Archdiocese,  Vicar General Father Franciscus Xaverius Sukendar Wignyosumarta said the Religious Affairs Ministry’s Directorate General for Catholic Community Guidance issued a circular following the church attack, calling on Catholics to stay alert.

“Security in churches must be tightened, and cooperation with police and security personnel must be improved,” he said.

Archbishop Anicetus Bongsu Sinaga of Medan in North Sumatra said the church attacks have made Catholics more vigilant.

“But be inclusive, don’t create enemies,” he said.

The archbishop said the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral Church formed a 12-member security team.

This followed an earlier attack on a priest during Sunday Mass at a church in Medan in August 2016.

According to Maria Theresia Erlien, a parishioner from St. Joseph Church in Matraman, East Jakarta, the call to be on alert should get serious attention.

Four people were killed in a bomb blast at the church on Christmas Eve in 2000.

“Being vigilant is important despite security personnel usually being deployed [for Holy Week],” she said.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority nation in population. Alongside the 87 percent of its population who are Muslim, 10 percent of the population is Christian and 2 percent are Hindu. Discrimination and attacks on religious minorities occur not infrequently.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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