NEWS BRIEFS

– Tej Francis

KETAPANG

IN A WEEK, CATHOLICS CELEBRATED 20 ORDINATIONS IN LAMPUNG, CENTRAL JAVA AND KALIMANTAN

(AsiaNews)  In just one week, the Catholic Church of Indonesia celebrated 20 priestly ordinations: five in Tanjung Karang (Lampung), 12 in Yogyakarta (province of Central Java), two at the Trappist monastery of St Mary in Rawaseneng (Central Java), and one in Air Upas, diocese of Ketapang (West Kalimantan).

Last week, the bishop of Tanjung Karang, Mgr Yohanes Harun Yuwono, ordained five new priests in his diocese. Yesterday, Mgr Robertus Rubiyatmoko, archbishop of Semarang, officiated the consecration ceremony of 11 diocesan priests and a Xaverian father, at the St Paul Major Seminary in Yogyakarta.

On Thursday, the prelate consecrated two deacons to the contemplative life at the Trappist monastery of St Mary in Rawaseneng. The parish of St Mary Queen of Peace in Air Upas yesterday celebrated the ordination of Deacon Bonefaseus Mite as a diocesan priest.

Air Upas is located in one of the most remote areas of the Diocese of Ketapang. Reaching it required seven hours of travel by car, on gravel roads through vast oil palm plantations. The day before the ceremony, the AsiaNews correspondent faced the long journey together with Fr Bangun Nugroho Pr, a local priest.

The following morning, two traditional tribal ceremonies took place to celebrate the ordination. Bonefaseus Mite is from Bajawa, Flores Island (East Nusa Tenggara), where most people are Catholic.

The Bishop of Ketapang, Mgr Pius Riana Prapdi, led the Mass, attended by 37 priests of the diocese. The simple church in Air Upas was still flooded following rains that hit West Kalimantan 24 hours earlier.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate noted that the decision to celebrate an ordination at such a remote location was “due to a desire to promote religious vocations among local youth”.

“For Catholics living in such distant places, attending such a ceremony is a rare opportunity. This  will emotionally influence people and motivate young people to join religious life,” the prelate said.

KENYA

CAMEROON: CATHOLIC PRIEST SHOT DEAD

(Independent Catholic News) A missionary priest from Kenya has been shot dead in Cameroon’s troubled South West region where hundreds have been killed or displaced in an escalation of separatist violence. Father Cosmas Ombato was a young Mill Hill missionary serving as assistant parish priest of the St Martin of Tours Parish in the village of Kembong, in restive southwest Cameroon. He was reportedly caught in crossfire between the military and armed separatists.

Violence has flared in the West African nation’s South West and North West regions in months of fighting between government forces and English-speaking armed militants who want an independent state.

The crisis in English-speaking Cameroon started in 2016 as an industrial strike by lawyers and teachers asking for investment and development which – they say – is being withheld from the Francophone regions and the recently re-elected President, 83-year-old Paul Biya, who has been in power for 36 years.

QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES

DUTERTE NOT ENTIRELY TO BLAME FOR ANTI-CHURCH COMMENTS, SAYS PRIEST

Despite what many perceive to be President Rodrigo Duterte’s consistently anti-Church comments, a priest believes he should not entirely be blamed for not knowing what the Catholic Church does.

“I don’t entirely blame the president because he is just one of the millions of Filipinos who don’t know what the Church does,” Msgr. Pedro Quitorio,  CBCP Media Office director,  said at the Catholic Social Media Summit (CSMS) v.7 at Sienna College in this city on Saturday.

Playing an audio recording of one of the President’s tirades against the Church and its hierarchy, Quitorio asked the CSMS attendees if Duterte’s comments made them angry or happy. The priest revealed that Duterte’s attacks against the Church is actually a much-needed reality check.

Quitorio, who also heads Areopagus Communications, said the public does not know what happens to Mass collections, for example, or that the Catholic Church built 30,000 houses for super typhoon Yolanda survivors.

“Who would know that that is what we do? I should know, because I’m from [a] ‘Yolanda’ area, I’m from Region 8. How many [houses] did the government do?” he said.  According to Quitorio, people don’t know that the Catholic Church is easily the largest and greatest charity agency in the world because by nature it does not self promote.

The Catholic Church, through its umbrella organization of Catholic charities all over the world, Caritas Internationalis, headed by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, allocated Php3.2 billion, helping 1.8 million people affected by typhoon “Yolanda.”

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