ASIA/INDONESIA - Traveling and promoting the spirituality of dialogue and "dialogue of life": the path of the Focolare Movement

Friday, 19 May 2023 dialogue  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - With the visit to the Catholic parish of St. Odilia in Tangerang, in the archdiocese of Jakarta, the visit to Indonesia of Margaret Karram and Jesús Morán, President and Co-President of the Focolare Movement, on their first official trip to Asia and Oceania. In recent weeks, both stopped in Korea, then visited Japan, the Fiji Islands, Australia and now Indonesia. The meeting was attended by the Archbishop of Jakarta, Msgr. Ignatius Suharyo, representatives of the government and law enforcement agencies, civil society and Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu religious leaders. "The dialogue that we maintain here with our brothers of different religions is concrete - explained Archbishop Suharyo, - and is focused on the needs of the people: there is a need for houses, to develop job opportunities, to bring water to the villages. That is why we work together and this can be a model of 'dialogue of life' that is exported outside of Indonesia. Our country's motto is 'unity in diversity' and fully expresses who we are and how we face our daily challenges".
"I am here to listen, know, learn but above all to love the continent of hope", said Margaret Karram, recalling that the spiritual wealth of the Asian peoples "will be a gift for all". "It is extremely important to revive the path of dialogue in the Movement, the instrument par excellence for building peace, the good that the world most needs today", she explained, giving meaning to her presence.
The nation's motto, 'unity in diversity', expresses the great ethnic-linguistic variety of the largest archipelago-state in the world, with its 17,508 islands. In the area of Southeast Asia that includes Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, Christians (of various churches) make up less than 10% of the population, which is predominantly Muslim in Indonesia and Malaysia, while in Singapore it is Taoist and Buddhist.
Currently, the center of life for the Focolare Movement in these countries is the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, on the island of Java. The Movement contributes to the pastoral work of the local Church, organizing meetings for religious and young people and the Yoyakarta school of catechists, it also organizes inter-religious sporting, recreational and festive events and maintains relations with Muslim youth associations. In Java, the Focolare Movement has contributed to the reconstruction of several villages, rebuilding Christian and Muslim homes after the 2004 earthquake.
In Southeast Asia, the seeds of Focolare spirituality have been spread since the 1960s through religious, priests, but also through the New City newspaper and the "Word of Life" brochure. In 1991 two Focolare centers were founded in Singapore (now moved to Yoyakarta, Indonesia), and in 2004 in Medan.
Towards the end of the 1980s, the Movement also spread to Malaysia, where today several members of the Movement live in many parts of the country and there are many small but very active communities. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 19/5/2023)