The Indonesian Minister of Religion, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas held a meeting with seven archbishops and 15 bishops from various dioceses in Indonesia at the Catholic Center of Ambonia Diocese, Maluku Province.
This meeting is part of a series of events for the ordination of the new Bishop of the Amboina Diocese which took place on April 23, 2022.
"In 2019, I met Pope Francis at the Vatican," said the Minister of Religion, starting his speech. "He is very humble, gentle, and has a clear heart.”
In front of the bishops, the Minister advised Catholics to continue to maintain the peace and harmony in the country.
According to Qoumas, Indonesia is a large and diverse nation, both in terms of cultures and religions.
"We all have to create a peaceful and tolerant society,” the minister said.
Qoumas also said that everyone should respect and appreciate people who have different beliefs.
"On behalf of the Government, I ask for good cooperation among Catholics. I am pleased to meet the bishops today," he continued.
He hopes that the moment of this meeting can be leveraged for Indonesia's peace in the future.
"Happy Easter to all Catholics. Easter momentum is certainly a very good time so that we can try to encourage a more tolerant attitude among religious people," said Qoumas.
He explained that the Ministry of Religion has declared 2022 as the Year of Tolerance.
According to him, tolerance is a necessity amid national diversity.
"Our differences are destiny, and become our richness and strength to be able to move forward together to shield our sovereignty of Indonesia,” concluded the Minister of Religion.
Also present at the meeting including the Vatican Ambassador to Indonesia Archbishop Piero Pioppo and the Special Staff of the Minister of Religion for Media and Information Technology, and the Director-General of Catholic Community Guidance A.M. Adiyarto Sumardjono.
Ambonia Diocese is located in the province of Maluku. As of 2020, it pastorally served 115,650 Catholics (3.8% of 3,058,640 total) on 77,990 km² in 54 parishes with 99 priests (77 diocesan, 19 religious), 220 lay religious (27 brothers, 193 sisters). – With inputs by Emiliana Saptaningsih
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