“IN THE JOY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: BEING GRATEFUL AND CONTINUING TO SERVE”
On January 13, 2017, the big family of Saint Arnold Janssen gathered to give thanks to the Triune God for the 100 years of missionary service by the SSpS sisters in Indonesia and East Timor. They were joined by many people from different parishes, religions and islands. The theme for the celebration was: IN THE JOY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: BEING GRATEFUL AND CONTINUING TO SERVE.
The Holy Mass was con-celebrated by a large group of the priest. In the entrance procession there were 100 children from the Elementary school of Bhaktyarsa who carried lit candles 100 lit candles and entered from six directions symbolizing the past footsteps of the first six missionaries and the light bearers for future generations. Christ Jesus is the main light! This celebration began with the lively dance by the students of Bhaktyarsa Senior High School.
In his homily, Father Budi Kleden, SVD, said that we were all given the responsibility and the important task to convince people that God cares for all people. The Holy Spirit is the gift we were given. Destruction happens when we think only about ourselves. Fr. Budi invited those present to continue supporting the sisters so that they can continue being trustworthy and faithful servants of the Holy Spirit. He also conveyed congratulations for the sisters who have served for 100 years in Indonesia and East Timor. He said, “We, the SVDs, need to learn to be good brothers by sharing the same missionary responsibilities with the sisters.”
Mgr. Vincentius Sensi Potokota, Pr, the Archbishop of Ende, congratulated the Sisters in the name of the con-celebrating bishops as well as the Bishops of Diocese where the Sisters work. He said that the great works of God have been channeled through the hands and the hearts of the sisters everywhere. He thanked the sisters for their service and dedication. He said, “Truly it is a miracle that these Catholic women are tremendous, and extraordinarily uncommon in their work in various aspects of services. They have truly been a blessing for many people.” He also thanked the Congregational Leadership Teams from the time of Saint Arnold Janssen until now. He noted that this area has been blessed and expressed the hope there will always be a strong and harmonious working relationship.
Mr. Frans Lebu Raya, the Governor of NTT Province, thanked the sisters who have served for 100 years in Indonesia. He invited the sisters to join hands in building up and improving society. He said that challenges always exist everywhere, but they make us more mature and more creative in our services. The Head of the Catholic Section of the Department of Religion reminded Sister Maria Theresia to not to take all the good sisters to work in other countries because we also need them in Indonesia.
Sr. Maria Theresia, SSpS, greeted all who were present. She said that it was a great joy to be here at this time. She brought many greetings from the Generalate Community in Rome and from all the sisters around the world! The main reason for this 100 year Jubilee party is to thank God for the sisters who have been dedicated to sharing the Good News of Jesus in Indonesian and around the world. The Holy Father, Pope Francis, gave his blessings for the sisters and for everyone at this important celebration. Today 100 years later we can look back with grateful hearts on the simple starting and now we can harvest the fruits. Now, more than 700 sisters live and serve in Indonesia as well as in most of the SSpS Provinces and Regions throughout the world. Almost 25% of our members are Indonesian and the next largest group is our Indian Sisters.
Sr. Maria Theresia said thank you to all who have supported the sisters in many different ways for many years. She realizes that the Congregation here in Indonesia and around the world exist because many people accept and work with the sisters in t diocesan, parish, and institutional projects. We are united in our many efforts to share the good news throughout society.
Sr. Maria Theresia urged the sisters to refuse the temptation to work alone. She encouraged them to continue working with others just like the six first sisters had done. It is important to never forget that it’s not what or how much we have done that is important, but who we are and how we live: communion – our unity with God, with one another, with the creation, with the marginalized, and with all those who share the vision of Jesus and the vision of our founding generation. This is a vision that wants life, life to the full for all people.
This celebration of thanksgiving was made more colorful by the presence of thousands people from different religions; Catholics, Protestants and Muslims. They were members of Sisters’ families, co-workers and Indonesian government officials. The celebration ended with a luncheon followed by dancing. Everyone went home with light and joyful faces because they were thankful for the great things God has done for the sisters and for all.
On Sunday, January 8th 2017, the SSpS sisters, co-workers, family members and students assembled in the Provincial House yard in Kewapante to welcome the SSpS Congregational Leader, Sr. Maria Theresia Hörnemann. She is here to celebrate the 100th Jubilee of the SSpS in Flores – Indonesia which will take place on the 13th of January 2017. She was warmly welcomed by means of a lively war dance from Lamaholot culture in which the guest is received as a noble person who brings victory for all. Upon entering the gate of the Provincial house, Sr. Maria Theresia was given the siri pinang by a couple as a symbolic gesture of hospitality. She was welcomed by Sister Inosensia Loghe Pati, SSpS the Provincial of the Flores East Province. Sr. Ermilinda Too, SSpS the Provincial of Kalimantan also greeted her by placing a kain selendang adat around her neck. After that, all the sisters went to the chapel to thank God for His grace and blessings for the Congregation and for the safe arrival of Sr. Maria Theresia. Everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch in the dining room of the Provincial House.
At 17:00 on January 10th, 2017, in the front yard of the Provincial House in Kewapante, the sisters welcomed the SVDs with the seleng dance; a special welcoming dance from Flores Timur culture. The SVDs brought their contributions for the main celebration of the sister’s 100th Jubilee. The priests, representing the SVD Ende Province, were warmly welcomed. In particular, Sister Inosensia placed the kain selendang adat around the necks of some of the priests as a sign of appreciation. The SVDs have always been open and ready to help and to work together with the sister in many things. Fr. Budi Kelden SVD, a general councillor from Rome, joined the celebration too. All who were present then had a snack together in the sisters’ dining room. The liturgy team led the group in a prayer service which was held near the Grotto of Mary. The program ended with dinner and dancing.
Triduum Welcoming the Centernary Year of the SSpS in Indonesia
In order to welcome the centenary year of the SSpS Sisters in Indonesia – Flores, the sisters organized a triduum of Masses. The theme of the triduum was remembering the footprints of the first 6 missionary sisters in Indonesia.
The first day of the triduum was done on Monday evening January 9th 2017 located in Renha Rosari Parish in Kewapante. The Mass was celebrated by the parish priest, Father Yeremias Purin Koten, SVD. Along with 9 other SVD concelebrants. In his homily, Father Yerem thanked the sisters for their loving presence and service in this area. Through their presence people in the area experienced the loving kindness of God. In the past there was pride in having the missionaries from Europe in Indonesia; now there is even greater pride because Indonesian missionaries are serving in many places around the world.
The second Mass of the Triduum was offered in the evening of January 10th in Santa Maria Tak Bernoda, the parish church in Lela. Fr. Herman Yosep, the parish priest, was the main celebrant. This service began with prayer in the Sister’s cemetery in Lela. In his homily, Father Herman Yosep congratulated the sisters for their 100 years of presence and service in Indonesia, particularly in Lela where the first 6 European SSpS sisters started their mission. Hopefully all will follow the good example of those missionaries by being prayerful, simple and open to do the will of God.
The third and final Triduum Mass took place on Wednesday evening in Santu Thomas Morus parish church in Maumere. After Mass, Sr. Thomasin Beding, SSpS, as the chairwoman of the celebration committee, gave a word of thanks to all by saying, “We are happy that the church is so full. It is a sign of the great support this society shows for the sisters. We are sure that some of the small girls who are present here will join the SSpS in the future.”
After dinner in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help community, all were invited to watch the theatrical production, “Keeping the Fire”. This production was prepared by the SVD brothers and the Bhaktyarsa Senior High School students. The performance dramatized how fire can give many benefits if it is used and cared for properly. But, it will cause destruction if it is carelessly tended. The drama was based on the history and struggle of first 6 missionaries who arrived in Indonesia 100 years ago. All who were present were truly amazed by the show! They went home joyfully, thanking God for all the great things He has done for the sisters and all the people.