ASIA/INDONESIA - New priests in Indonesian Papua, including tribal groups

Friday, 7 June 2019 mission   indigenous   ethnic minorities   christianity   priests  

Jayapura (Agenzia Fides) - The Indonesian Church celebrates the presence of nine new priests who received the sacrament of priestly ordination, by the Bishop of Jayapura, Franciscan Mgr. Leo Laba Ladjar, in a solemn celebration held in the cathedral of Jayapura in recent days, characterized by typical events of the local culture. Of the new priests, 5 are diocesan and 4 are priests of the Order of Friars Minor.
Among the new priests, the diocesan Fr. Kleopas Sondegau is the second priest from the local tribal group Migani, who lives in the mountainous area of the province. To celebrate the event, around 30 members of the indigenous group from different parish territories participated in the priestly ordination, alongside many other faithful of the diocese.
Before the ordination ceremony, numerous tribal people dressed in their traditional clothes from Papua (Migani, Mee groups) and others from the regions of South Sulawesi, Kupang and Flores, Moluccas, performed their dances transmitting their unique expression of joy.
Also the other diocesan priests Fr. Hubertus Magai and Fr. Benjamin Keiya are natives of the Mee ethnic group, from northern Papua. Seated in the so-called "yamewa" - a wooden sedan chair - both deacons of the Mee tribal group were brought into the church by their comrades and supporters of the same ethnic group. The yamewa, in the local tradition, symbolizes the gift of "chosen consecrated persons" who act as a link between the world and the divine.
Indonesian Papua (western part of the island of New Guinea) includes five Catholic dioceses: the diocese of Jayapura, the diocese of Manokwari-Sorong, the diocese of Agats-Asmat, the Diocese of Timika and the Archdiocese of Merauke.
Many Indonesian missionaries from other islands of the nation are sent from different dioceses to the Papuan dioceses, in a "twinning" and exchange of priests between Indonesian dioceses.
In the territory there are various male and female religious congregations that also carry out their apostolate in the field of pastoral care, health, educational services. (MH) (Agenzia Fides, 7/6/2019)