A bishop from East Nusa Tenggara Province of Flores Island, eastern Indonesia, has declared the Pastoral Year of Holistic Tourism 2022.
This declaration coincides with Christmas and New Year Eucharistic celebration. The Year of Holistic Tourism 2022 is the last agenda of the Post-Christmas Pastoral Assembly of Ruteng Diocese, said Bishop Siprianus Hormat of Ruteng.
"In realizing participatory, cultural, sustainable and holistic tourism pastoral plan in 2022, we are committed to implementing educational programs on holistic tourism, economic, cultural, ecological, and spiritual programs," he said.
This Eucharistic celebration took place at the Ruteng Cathedral Church, led by the prelate and attended by priests, nuns, and community leaders around the city of Ruteng on January 7.
In his speech, Bishop Hormat thanked the pastoral agents who have been actively involved in pastoral work during the last year, which was declared as the "Year of Pastoral Care."
He invites all people to join hands to work together to implement pastoral programs designed.
"We hope to work together for the common good. We will strengthen and support the bonds of our brotherhood, walking through the ages in togetherness and unity," said the bishop.
The theme of the Pastoral Year of Holistic Tourism is "Participation, Culture, and Sustainability."
According to him, education for cultural tourism should start in families, schools, and parishes.
"This year, we are also committed to developing and facilitating the cultural heritage of the ancient churches, the Marian grotto, spiritual sites building, holding a religious tourism center, regularly updating spiritual programs on spiritual sites," he further explained.
Providing services to foreign tourists and encouraging the construction of the Christ the King statue, which accepts all tourists as a unique local religious context, is among the programs they emphasize.
The Pastoral Year of Holistic Tourism also makes the Ecology program a priority.
"We want to give a message to all that nature is a place of encounter with God and self," said Bishop Hormat.
In addition, the diocese will try to care for, develop and protect the unique flora and fauna in the Ruteng diocese, and build tourist villages.
Ruteng diocese is located in the western part of Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara Province. The majority of the population in the diocese is Catholic. It consists of 88.9% Catholics, with 85 parishes in the area.
Flores Island consists of four dioceses as such as Ende, Larantuka, Maumere and Ruteng.
In realizing the Pastoral Year of Holistic Tourism programs, the Diocese of Ruteng is also committed to providing directives on the theme through the bishop's Christmas and Easter pastoral letters, sermons, recollections, catechesis, parish announcements/appeals, and seminars for the general public.
The bishop stated that in their effort to realize the above programs, they emphasize the importance of teamwork with all the parties concerned.
All educational foundations, campuses and schools, convents, religious communities, and other Catholic social institutions need to pay attention to and select the various programs, activities, and pastoral movements of the Pastoral Year of Holistic Tourism that can be carried out in their respective areas.
East Manggarai Regional Secretary, Ir. Boni Hasudungan Siregar, who was also present on the occasion, expressed his gratitude to the Church for declaring 2022 as the Pastoral Year of Tourism.
"The pastoral year of tourism fits perfectly with the recent development of tourism in East Nusa Tenggara Province and Manggarai regions," he said.
Siregar also thanked Ruteng Bishop. He hopes that the collaboration that has been built between the Church and the government can benefit the welfare of the general public.
"Tourism development must bring prosperity to the community," he concluded.
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