The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) Navy held an interfaith prayer aboard the Semarang-594 warship, sailing in Jakarta waters on September 23.
The interfaith event was attended by the Chief of Naval Staff (KSAL) Yudo Margono, Vice KSAL Ahmadi Heri Purwono, and representatives from six religious leaders in Indonesia.
"This activity is carried out to show that it embraces all interests, especially regarding religiosity, that is obedience to God," said Father Yosep Maria Marcellinus Bintoro when contacted by Radio Veritas Asia.
This interfaith prayer was organized to celebrate the 76th anniversary of the Indonesian Navy on September 15.
Fr. Bintoro said the purpose of this interfaith prayer was not simply to celebrate the 76th Anniversary of the Indonesian Navy but to foster fellowship, solidarity, and understanding for the common good.
"This program is significant as the soldiers are essentially living our Pancasila (the official, foundational philosophy of Indonesia) - the principles of divinity. We pray together and unite in differences, for God unites us from differences," he explained.
The program, which was held during the Covid-19, similarly asked the Indonesian Army to sacrifice and be a blessing. All are asked to pray for their leaders' wisdom in carrying out their duties during the prayer.
Accepting his call and duty as bishop delegate of the Catholics in the Indonesian Army and Police, Fr. Bintoro has a noteworthy responsibility for the church and its members.
"I was also a pioneer there, to be a witness that Indonesia was born from differences in terms of religion, ethnicity, race, and groups. I was present there as Bishop delegate, the face of the Catholic church," he added.
Meanwhile, Margono, in a press release, said, "This activity is an expression of gratitude to God for the abundance of His blessings and graces."
The priest added that this event was also intended "to increase faith and ask for safety for the success of the Indonesian Navy in carrying out service to the nation by their duties, responsibilities and religion."
The program itself is expected to be a moment to grow and emphasize that unity and interfaith prayer can be fostered—one heart to maintain and respect religious freedom and building tolerance.
On this incident, Fr. Bintoro hoped, "through this interfaith prayer, we will build strength as a nation. The power of belief becomes the strength of the group. If it does not exist, it will affect liberalization," he acclaimed. "Because believing makes us strong in unstable situations, especially during Covid-19 pandemic."
The interfaith prayer was held simultaneously throughout Indonesia. All Indonesian Navy, both on land and duty on warships, took part in the program virtually. - Emiliana Saptaningsih | RVA News