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Indonesian Bishops’ Conference annual assembly discusses ‘peace’ in the country

The Indonesian Bishops' Conference held its annual assembly from November 7–14, 2023. (Photo credit: Mirifica news)

The Indonesian Bishops' Conference (IBC; Indonesian: Konferensi Waligereja Indonesia) held its annual assembly with the theme "Walking Together Towards a Peaceful Indonesia" in the auditorium of the IBC’s Office from November 7–14.

Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin, OSC, president of IBC, began the session by tapping the hammer three times while saying, "With great gratitude to God and in the company of the bishops, priests, sisters, brothers, and sisters, I am opening this session."

The prelate expressed his gratitude in his address for granting permission for the annual session to be conducted in the newly constructed IBC Building, despite its incomplete status.

"We extend our sincere gratitude to God for His abundant favor, which grants us permission to conduct the session in the hall of the IBC’s office, a structure that is presently undergoing renovations." He further expressed his hope that precisely one hundred years from now, on May 15, 1924, when the bishops first convened, this office would be blessed.

Bishop Bunjamin of Bandung elucidated that the bishops’ annual gathering occurs amid three momentous occurrences in 2024 within the nation: the XVIth Ordinary Session of the Synod of Bishops in Rome will conclude in October 2024; the election of the president and vice president of Indonesia will occur on February 14, 2024; and the 100th anniversary of IBC will be commemorated on May 15, 2024. 

He stated that the IBC's annual gathering upholds its theme of collective progress toward a peaceful Indonesia.

As many as 70 people attended the event, including 24 secretaries, session observers, study day observers, 5 emeritus bishops, 2 from Koptari, 2 from Unio, 2 diocesan administrators, 1 vicar general, and 34 bishops.

In attendance at the opening session of the assembly was AM. Adiyarto Sumardjono, the Acting Director General of Catholic Community Guidance, who represented the Minister of Religion, Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Piero Pioppo, and the General Chair of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), Rev. Gomar Gultom.

Reverence Pastor Goemar Gultom hopes that the trial, which took place during real problems facing the Indonesian nation and society, will give people "fresh inspiration in formulating theological calls and attitudes" about the problems that Indonesian society is currently facing. This is especially important with the general election coming up soon.

He extended an invitation to IBC and PGI to "supervise the implementation" of the 2024 elections, emphasizing the importance of democratic values—specifically "humanity, equality, and justice—to ensure their high quality and smooth execution.

"Hopefully this trial will make us more aware of the role of the church in instilling our ethical, moral, and spiritual values in the nation,"  Gultom said.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia extended felicitations from Pope Francis to the bishops of Indonesia.

"Dear brother bishops, I assure you of the encouragement and joy of the Holy Father, and I appreciate your consistently cordial regard," Archbishop Pioppo said. 

The subsequent two-day session of the assembly was devoted to the 2024 presidential election overview, its socio-political analysis, and the involvement of the Catholic Church in the election.

Following these were discussions between the bishops and representatives from commissions, organizations, secretariats, and IBC departments.

Archbishop Piero Pioppo is scheduled to preside over the concluding Eucharist of the annual assembly observance at the Jakarta Cathedral Church. This observance marks the commencement of the IBC session's centenary and the tenth year of Pope Francis' anniversary. -With Inputs from Mirifica news


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