Jakarta: prisons and jobs, committed Catholic volunteer workers

» 09/14/2011 18:58

by Mathias Hariyadi
In the archdiocese of the capital alone more than 150 lay Catholic groups help people in need. Participants at a forum in Jakarta discussed difficulties and prospects. Better cooperation to face emergencies. With one aim: bear witness to faith in Jesus Christ, with “service to others”.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Some groups offer support to prison inmates, others help single mothers or orphaned children; some volunteers intervene during health emergencies, or natural disasters, together with associations which– in times of economic and financial crises – organize a congress on work, offers of jobs and opportunities for employment. These are only a few of the many initiatives undertaken by lay Catholics in Indonesia in recent years, in order to bear witness to Jesus Christ, putting themselves “at the service of others”. Last weekend at Wisma Samadi Klender, a district in East Jakarta, a two-day workshop– Pemikat –was held to execute the objective: boosting the morale of various lay catholic groups and enhancing their commitment to perform synergy for a better practice of faith and promote better cooperation among the groups so they may “help one another”.

In the archdiocese of Jakarta (Kaj) alone, there are 150 different groups of lay Catholics involved in various forms of social assistance and voluntary work. This thanks to a seed sown almost 10 years ago by Jesuit Fr. BS Mardiaatmadja, at the time vicaris episcopalis for lay apostolic groups, with the institution of a diocesan Commission known as Komkat, or Komunitas Kategorial, meaning literally “particular communities of lay people to practice their catholic faith in various ways of service to others ”. That mission has been carried forward over the past three years by another Jesuit priest Fr. Andang L. Binawan SJ and the mission embraces “everyone one ” without distinction regarding sex, race or religion.

Different experiences were shared in the two day workshop in the capital. The groups known as Kkt – Komunitas Kasih Tuhan, community of God’s love – spoke about their service to prison inmates: material help and spiritual comfort, and the celebration of a special Mass inside the prison. Other volunteers, belonging to the Sant’Egidio group, offer help to abandoned children and mothers left alone to care for their children. The diocesan Catholic Workers Association group – Kkmk – told how it hosted a job-fair event which had drawn great interest on the part of
both job-seekers and business corporations. There were Catholic activists – Wkri – who support the rights of housewives, and Kbkk – A group of catholic women (WKRI) promoted the welfare of house-maids through various of programs, the
Catholic Humanitarian Group (KBKK) shared their experience on how to exercise the good catholic way of life through a variety of humanitarian works among disaster victims throughout the Indonesian archipelago of Indonesia.

The Forum organised by Pemikat underlined the need to boost morale and reciprocal cooperation among all Catholic lay groups. “Support and exchange of sources may happen in the next coming future when a specific group performing an event needs assistance from other Catholic groups,” explained Fr. Binawan in his closing address.