Wednesday, April 25, 2012

THANKS AND HOPE - April Up Date (2)

At 09:30 am, on March 1, 2012, Likurai dancing to welcome the Bishop of Atambua and the SVD-SSpS Provincials, stopped at front of the monument inscription of 100 years of SVD Indonesia, that was erected on the left side in front of the church. The monument was covered with blue cloth. Fr. BATA Simon delivered a brief note of the SVD mission in Atapupu and Lahurus, and the moments of the submission from Jesuits to the SVD, which will turn 100 years, on March 1, 2013. He also mentioned the reason why Lahurus was chosen to be the place for the opening ceremony of the Jubilee year of the SVD in Indoleste. The monument cloth was opened by the Indonesian SVD Provincials and Bishop Dominic Saku, Pr, cutting the ribbon. 100 years monument of SVD Indonesia was built upon the monument of 75 years of SVD Timor that celebrated on January 20, 1988. So, January 20, 1913, the day of Fr. Noyen’s  arrival in Atapupu, celebrated by the SVD in Timor Province as the starting day of the SVD mission in this land of the crocodiles. Meanwhile, March 1, 1913, when officially the Society of Jesus (SJ) submitted  the mission of the Lesser Sunda islands to the SVD, celebrated as the starting point of the SVD in Indonesia. The unification of these two monuments, certainly has its special significance for the SVD in Timor,  SVD Indoleste, and the people of the local church who served by the SVD Congregatin. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Fr. BATA Simon led a prayer of the SVD Jubilee. Belu regency government that invited to participate in this event, represented by the Vice Regency leader of Belu, Ludovikus Taolin.

After the ribbon cutting in front of 100-year Jubilee monument,   the Bishop and the priests went to the rectory to rest for a moment and wearing liturgical garments. Meanwhile, people enter the church. I could not estimate the numbers of people in attendance. The church was packed with the guests, religious men and women, school children, and the representatives from neighbor parishes. Lahurus parish church could not accommodate all people in attendance. So a large tent needed to be set up in the church yard. Even before the Mass, there was an announcement that the people of the host, not to be in the church. They could took place in tent in front of the church or at the side doors of the church. The pews in the church reserved for the guests and the representatives of the neighbor parishes. Elementary school children, took place in the church attic. 

At 10:20 am, a group of priests and the Bishop of Atambua Diocese marched from the front of the rectory to the church accompanied by Likurai dancing. Mass songs sang by mixed chorus of SVD Novices of Nenuk and people of Nela parish, under the care of Fr. TOWARI Salvator, Fr. BHILA Kanis and Fr. SORO Ronny. All the songs were composed in Timor pattern of inculturation. UNIKA choir from Kupang was given the opportunity to sing during the Communion. Acting as the seremoniarius was Fr. LEWAR John. The main celebrant was the Bishop, accompanied by the SVD Provincial of Timor, Fr. BATA Simon and the Atambua diocese vicar general, Fr. ASA Justus. The sanctuary could not accommodate more than 150 priests.   Then all the benches at the front left row of the church, dedicated to 80's SVD and diocesan priests. The Mass celebration went very festively: "God was really PRESENCE". Bishop Dominic preached vividly. Some important points that I noted, did not run away from the theme of the celebration, namely: 1). Thanking the abundant gratitude that God has bestowed upon SVD. 2). SVD’s sublime devotion to God's people in Indonesia during 100 years, is difficult to be measured and calculated. 3). Great hope for the future, which is also a challenge in this modern age to become a missionary for the people who started to fade their faith because of the technology advances. Bishop Dominic said that there are people who start losing their identity and become "foreign" in their own country. 4). Bishop Dominic also mentioned an "irony" of the SVD and the local Church concern in Timor. Apparently SVD and the local Church have worked during 100 years in this land, but poverty of the people in needs  and education are still a big problem to be solved.

Before the Mass was ended, there are remarks by Fr. BATA Simon and the Bishop. Fr. Bata stressed again the importance of the "sacred" water of Lahurus that purified the life of shepherds and the people who served with love. While Bishop Dominic, in a tone of pride as a local church leader, said that SVD has a very special place in the diocese of Atambua. Then he realized that the attendance at Mass, not only the SVD. Then he quickly added that the SSpS nuns also have a special place in Atambua Diocese. Other congregations as well. Although there are nuns of some congregations who came quietly and "stealing"  young women and sent them out of the country as candidates. Let even so, they also have a special place in the diocese of Atambua. *** (PriscoVirgo)

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