Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has turned into “a promising oasis of religious and priestly vocations,” Father Luigi Galvani, pioneer of the Camillian mission of Flores told Agenzia Fides. “In fact, the continuous opening of new religious communities and seminaries is the clear testimony of this favourable moment.”
“In Maumere, on the island of Flores, one is impressed to see the largest philosophical and theological Seminary of the Catholic Church in the world, led by Divine Word Missionaries, with more than a thousand seminarians,” Fr. Luigi marveled.
“If in the past decades Indonesia had been a destination country of evangelization, now it is giving back this gift to the nations with the sending of its missionaries” – the Camillian further specified. “In fact, several dozen Indonesian missionaries from various religious institutes, with the Verbites (Divine Word Missionaries are also known as Verbites in different parts of the world) in the front row, reach other countries of the world each year to carry out pastoral and missionary service.”
We are very proud of the diversity of our missionaries and the wonderful service our Indonesian priests, brothers and sisters perform in the more than 80 countries where we are present!
National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu with Father Campbel after the
The National Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu last Sunday made a
rare and spectacular appearance at the Christ The King Catholic Church, Accra
as part of his 100th birthday.
Accompanied by a large entourage of top clerics and leading figures in the
Islamic community, the visit went viral within minutes as the images were being
posted particularly on social media.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that President Akufo-Addo was also excited about the
gesture which observers say is worthy of emulation in countries where
cross-faith harmony is not a feature.
For a man whose peace overtures have earned for him a cross-faith reverence,
the visit to Christ The King on an Easter Sunday augmented an already existing
deference which found space on BBC’s African programme – Focus On Africa – with
Audrey Brown who described it as a ‘light in the dark.’
The Chief Imam was received on arrival by the Parish Priest, Rev. Father Andrew
Campbell, SVD, who led the congregation to sing a happy birthday song to his
A narration of the arrival by a member of the church, a certain Maya Musi Jata
said it all about the excitement which greeted the cleric, as he set foot on
the threshold of the church before the appointed time of 8am.
The congregation, as if the arrival had been rehearsed, commenced a ‘Happy
Birthday’ song, as a supporting organ in the background provided the sweet
notes in an appropriate pitch.
“He was supposed to arrive by 8am according to the programme, but he was there
before 8am. I was excited about that. He was welcomed to the church by Rev Fr
Campbell who told us that the Chief Imam was turning 100 and wanted to come
celebrate with us,” Musi Jata told Audrey Brown.
The lady expressed happiness with the cleric’s position that God does not say
that “we should fight those who do not belong to our faiths. There was a lot of
encouragement for the cleric as he spoke. We are the same people and so should
co-exist harmoniously. Let others outside Ghana emulate this gesture.”
Her admonition comes on the heels of an attack on churches and hotels in Sri
Lanka in which scores of Christians lost their lives on Sunday.
How It Started
Cecil Garbrah, an official of the church, said “it all started with a call on
Wednesday by a member of the Chief Imam’s team that the cleric wants to meet
the Reverends and the congregation to mark his 100 years which is on Tuesday
(today). I contacted the elders of the church and the hierarchy of the Catholic
Church in Accra. We were excited that the Chief Imam was visiting us. If there
is a red carpet let us lay it for him. We donated a pair of footwear, the kind
worn by Muslims and he made a cash donation to the church.”
Mr. Garbrah spoke about a reciprocal visit to the mosque and how football
matches, among other social activities, can enhance inter-faith harmony.
The Chief Imam, he told BBC, bemoaned the developments which have taken place
across the world in which people have lost their lives.
Many social media users who spotted the Chief Imam at the church said the move
inures to the harmonious co-existence among members of the two great faiths in
“Casa Betania Sta. Martha”, the welcome
house for migrants in Salto de Agua, Chiapas, Mexico, is located about 100 Km
from the border between Guatemala. The house is located on the route where the
migrants go through. Here the cargo trains pass through this small town wherein
many migrants boarded elsewhere to proceed with their journey. They jump off
from these cargo trains at Salto de Agua and stop by Casa Betania Sta. Marta.
The Casa, run by SVD Mexico Province has already hosted around 8000 migrants
since its establishment in March 2018.
When I visited Casa Sta, Marta in November
2018, around 15 to 20 migrants were arriving in the house every day. However, I
was told that this is not a significant number for them. The maximum number of
migrants the Casa hosted in a day was 250.
In my conversation with a few of the migrants, I realized that each of them has his/her reason to leave their hometown. Some migrants are forced to leave their homes because of conflicts, persecution, disaster, and land grabbing. Some migrants are seeking a better life to improve their economic situation, for better job opportunities, education and medical treatment. Some migrants move because of family ties. Many times, for these migrants, the reason is not just one, but there are still many other complex reasons. Unfortunately, some people use these migrants for their political advantages. Also, there are experiences where people who have malicious interests use the migrants. Moreover, many people are indifferent and do not want to see such migrants.
Fr. Martín Islas, SVD, four FMM sisters and
a few lay staff work at Casa Sta. Marta. There are also some volunteers from
the SVD parish and other groups. They help like preparing beds and meals,
providing clothes and medicine, offer places to shower and a counseling
service. I saw that the migrants arriving at the Casa are often tired and some
of them injured. They worry about their journey and their family. I heard that
during the trip there are people that died by accident, killed, raped, cheated,
and trafficked. Some children were also abducted.
As religious missionaries, social commitment is often a fulfilling work, because we can see the development and growth of individuals and communities. However, in the Casa the migrants merely come and go. They pass through the house temporarily. There is no way the staff of the Casa will ever know what will happen to these migrants or what is the future that awaits them. Indeed, this must be very tough work.
May God continue to bless this work and accompany
this journey of the migrants and the staff of the Casa.