Indonesian archbishop affirms that the real strength of Catholic youth is when the young take a stand against injustice and forces that disturb the nation's diversity.
The prelate spoke during the 18th Catholic Youth National Congress opened in Semarang, Central Java province, on November 12.
The congress has the theme "Vigorous Catholic Youth, Indonesia Recovered."
The congress, which is scheduled until November 14, will be carried out with a hybrid concept, namely, online and offline, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Catholic youth must uphold and promote Pancasila (Indonesian foundational philosophy). Strength will be seen and approved when the Catholic youth takes a stand against injustice and efforts that divide the plurality of the nation," said Archbishop of Semarang Robertus Rubiyatmoko in his opening remarks.
He explained a robust Catholic youth adheres to all activities that are geared to the vision and mission.
In addition, the Catholic youth can take a role in various issues, such as the pandemic issue, being involved in the 2024 general elections and caring for the environment and becoming ambassadors for digital transformation.
"With this strength, the Catholic youth has to show the face of a Church that is loving, peaceful and oriented to Christian values," the prelate said.
The congress, which is held every three years, is attended by 31 regional administrators who take part in person and more than 200 local delegates participate online.
In her remarks, the chairperson of the Catholic youth, Karolin Margret Natasa, urged the Catholic youth to continue to animate the spirit of "Pro Ecclesia et Patria" (struggle for the Church and the nation).
"I hope Catholic youth will continue to live the spirit of being involved in the Church and society, especially taking part in the 2024 presidential elections, maintaining the values of Pancasila, and continuing to build good relations with the Church," Natasa said.
During the 76 years of being present in Indonesia, there were many challenges faced during the process of becoming community organizations that have Catholic characteristics.
"The Catholic youth continue to stand firm amid the current development of the times with a variety of problems, both plural and other problems," she added.
At the end of her speech, Natasa entrusted the Catholic youth movement to the new chairperson who would be elected before the congress ends.
The youth group's new set of leadership teams is to show resilience in a pluralistic nation and involvement in various national issues and concerns.
Attending the event in Semarang was the Minister of Youth and Sports, Zainudin Amali and Minister of Religion Yaqut Cholil Quomas.
Besides, the Mayor of Semarang, Hendra Priyadi, representatives of the Central Java provincial government, as well as representatives from the Nahdlatul Ulama's Multipurpose Ansor Front, were among those who attended the congress.
One of the goals of this congress is, among others, as a redefining moment, where through this congress, Catholic youth wants to simultaneously evaluate and redefine its existence for the church, nation and worldwide.