Personal Experiences Retreat a huge success
More than a hundred people attended the spiritual retreat at the St Gabriel Catholic Church. The new approach based on sharing and active participation has drawn an ever-greater number.
A parish in East Jakarta held a spiritual retreat, based mainly on recounting personal experiences of priests, former priests, seminarians and ordinary people.
More than a hundred people attended the Oct. 20 retreat at the St Gabriel Catholic parish church in Pulo Gebang. Agustinus Kunarwoko, a former diocesan priest, agreed with the organisers that the retreat was a huge success.
Indonesian Catholics have always been attracted to the decade-long practice of spiritual retreat in isolated places, suitable for meditation and reflection. The new approach based on sharing and active participation has drawn an ever-greater number.
Kunarwoko said that he hoped to see such moments of encounter turn into real forums, open to as many believers as possible, venues where everyone could recount their own experiences and talk about the ways they cope with challenges and opportunities.
Some of those who shared their life experiences included former political prisoners, intellectuals and professionals persecuted under repressive and discriminatory laws.
Arswendo Atmowiloto, a famous journalist who spent a few years in prison for blasphemy, and two Jesuit philosophy professors spoke about how they live a deep and true faith. Like the other participants, the two scholars too went beyond formal philosophy, ethics, and theology and talked about their "personal experience of faith."
Catholics make up about seven million, 3% of the population, in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation but are active in society and contribute significantly to the nation's development.