26 Juli 2007

Seminarians 'Dialogue' With Protestant Families Through New Ecumenical Initiative


ENDE, Indonesia (UCAN) -- Thirty-eight seminarians from Divine Word-run St. Paul Major Seminary in Ledalero promoted ecumenical unity on the predominantly Catholic island of Flores, by participating in a unique initiative.

During a five-day live-in program from Jan. 25 to Jan. 29, each seminarian stayed with a family from Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor (GMIT), an evangelical church in Ende town, 1,630 kilometers east of Jakarta. Seminarians lived, prayed and worked with the families.
The seminarians' presence "actually is a form of dialogue. It touches families as basic communities," Divine Word Father Gregorius Sabon told the seminarians and families at a Jan. 28 prayer service.
Through the live-in program, he said, seminarians experienced the reality of Protestant family life. This "will enrich and strengthen the seminarians' spiritual life, so that they will keep serving as the servants of God," said Father Sabon, who coordinated the seminarians.
Kristianto Naben, a seminarian, agreed. He followed the rhythm of life of a Protestant family and joined their prayer service, he said. In the prayer service, each person shared experiences or problems they are facing. Then they tried to find solutions. He was asked to present a reflection about a passage from Scripture.
"It is interesting to know how Protestant families read the Bible and how they reflect on their experiences," he continued. "It will broaden my thinking about the Protestant Church," he said.
Amandus Klau, another seminarian, told UCA News that the Protestant families' willingness to welcome the seminarians was like opening "the door of a library."
He said, "I learned many useful things after going through their concrete life with them," he admitted. The thing that impressed him most, he said, was "their practice of reading and hearing the Word of God together."
Klau, who coordinates the seminary students, explained that the seminary wanted to develop an ecumenical program outside the seminary complex.
"This live-in program is a continuous ecumenical union. It is also a chance to study," he said. Seminarians, "will become pioneers of ecumenical movement in our future service area." He hoped the live-in program will continue, creating a true and continuous union between Catholic and Protestant Churches.
Meanwhile, Yoseph Reywutty Tarully, chairman of GMIT Church on Flores island, told UCA News that the new initiative could strengthen Christian unity. This first such program showed progress in the ecumenical life of the Catholic and Protestant Churches in the area, he continued.
Tarully, a post-graduate student of Divine Word-run Catholic School of Philosophy in Ledalero, himself is part of a student-exchange program between the school and the Protestant school of theology in Kupang, west Timor.
"I hope the program will echo the Good News to all faithful on Flores island, so that the world will know that we are united in faith, hope and love," he said.
The program also included a seminar on HIV/AIDS, which was attended by young Catholics from three parishes served by Ende archdiocese as well as by young people from GMIT communities.
According to official data, Ende archdiocese has 411,334 Catholics, who make up more than 90 percent of the territory's 449,057 people. They are served by 287 priests, 513 Religious and 567 catechists in 52 parishes.

Berita ini dimuat di Kantor Berita Ucan, February 16, 2007
IS01947.1432 February 16, 2007 50 EM-lines (531 words)

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