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First “Moving School” Focusing Youth and Peace

First “Moving School” Focusing Youth and Peace

 

Indonesian Catholic college students believe that lay people are responsible not only for prayer and liturgy, but for the poor and the marginalized outside the church in Asia.

“The prayer that believers do on a daily basis is important, but how to practice their faith in society is equally important. There are a lot of conflicts in Indonesia as well, and I think it is a layman’s duty to help solve them peacefully. “

“The prayer that believers do on a daily basis is important, but how to practice their faith in society is equally important. There are a lot of conflicts in Indonesia as well, and I think it is a layman’s duty to help solve them peacefully. “

The Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum based in Manila held its first ‘Moving School’ on April 1 to 6 in Jakarta, Indonesia under the theme of “Youth as a Peace-builder for Peace in Asia.” Some 20 participants from Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Papua New Guinea and Flores in Indonesia all of whom are members of International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Indonesia. They participated in the event to promote capacity-building and awareness of interreligious dialogue and cooperation, human rights and peace which are main themes of the event.

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Matilda Martyat and Tompson Silalahi, interviewees for the report

“Before, I thought that everything were supposed to be done by a priest. I saw lay leaders teaching the social teachings through this program, and I am convinced that I could also convey the teaching to my friends who share the same religious belief. In that sense, the school became a sort of eye-opening opportunity.”

Tomson Silalahi (29), who had been a seminarian for a year, said that he has learned that all of God’s people, including lay people, are missionaries in the field of evangelization. He expressed his conviction that he can do whatever for his colleague Catholic students. Roberto quitted his job and has currently started his work as a media coordinator in the student organization.

Participants visited Walhi, one of largest environmental organizations in Indonesia, on April 1, and the office of Justice/Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) run by the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), both based in Jakarta.

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Group photo of the participants

According to woman activist Melda of Walhi, it is a partner of the worldly-well known ‘Friends of the Earth’ and has 38 activists in its Jakarta headquarter and has 28 branches throughout Indonesia. She explained that the ecological destruction such as illegal logging, mining and burning fields in mountains for land done by congramors have been getting serious.

Peter Amman, Provincial of the Francisan congregation in Indonesia, said that there are 8 religious members working in the Jakarta JPIC-OFM headquarter and 9 laypeople in Flores Island, a Catholic stronghold where some 80 percent of population are Catholics, are carrying out ecological conservation activities. “There is a shortage of labor, so the church should be more active in environmental issues”, he added.

Tompson Silalahi (29), who served as president of the parliament in the Parish of Medan, said that he thought that he learned much more than any other participants. He said, “I have learned social doctrine before in the parish or diocese, but it is first time for me to learn it with such a deep and profound theological explanation.”