ALL Forum successfully completed 4 sessions of Online Course for members of Pemuda Katolik in Indonesia. The Online Course was lead by Fr.Heru Prakosa SJ with the main theme “Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue for Common Good: A Challenge for Catholic Youths in the Indonesian Context”. Week wise we dealt with ‘Youth extremism’ in the first session, ‘Globalization and the role of media’ in the second session, ‘Significance of Interreligious education’ during the third session and ‘Challenges and opportunities: Indonesian youths and citizenship’ in the last session.
Every week around 25 participants actively joined and spent an effective 50 minutes of Lecture which was followed by 30-40 minutes of open forum for discussion. During the second and third session ‘Globalization and the role of media’ and ‘Significance of Interreligious education’, two Muslim guest respondersNugroho Noto Susanto and Kyai Ahmad Suaedywere invited to participate and share their views so that we could enrich our learning experiences. The participants found this format more interesting and useful as they were able to directly ask their concerns and discuss with Nugroho Noto Susanto and Kyai Ahmad Suaedy followed by their 30 minutes of sharing. All recordings of the Online Course can be found on Youtube Channel @ALL Forum Asian Lay Leaders. The reading material can also be found in the Archive section of our website. Please subscribe to stay updated and connected with ALL Forum.*
“Rejoice and be glad” (Mt 5:12) is the Exhortation on “the call to holiness in today’s world”. Pope Francis highlighted that holiness reflects the Beatitudes, holiness is Joy, and holiness is the Foundational Vocation. The pope invites everyone to become saints in a practical context.
So how do I live my vocation to holiness in my daily life? I am very happy to join the ALL Forum Online Course on the exhortation “Rejoice and Rejoice”, although I have also read, studied, meditated, etc. on this topic, but this online course has left me In my feelings, emotions:
I am more convinced that the journey which I am on with “A Cloud of Witnesses”, encourages me to know that many people of all backgrounds respond to the call to holiness. In communion, “Surrounded and led by the friends of God, … I do not carry alone what I cannot carry alone. All the saints of God are still there to protect and support me”, and because of this my life is lighter and more peaceful.
To become a saint is not to withdraw from work or to devote myself to prayer, but to become a saint is to live in love and bear witness to God’s love. I am called to this holiness in a very personal way according to my state of life and mission, as I live the present moment to the fullest; with love, trust and commitment to the plan which God has laid out. Due to which I feel that my life has meaning, happiness, joy, peace…
Furthermore, my degree of sanctification is determined by the degree to which Christ takes possession of me so that each day I become more like Jesus in the way I think, speak, act, and live my life expressed through relationships with God, brothers and sisters and creation. Gradually it formed in me a life of balance between contemplation and activity. It was Jesus Christ who contemplated me, sending me to my fellowmen, where I discovered His hidden presence, you in turn send me back to the contemplation of Christ. This invites me to try to see God in each person, in every thing (seeing God’s image in brothers and sisters, in the poor, in the sick, in the flowers, in the grass, in the birds… small everyday things with great love)
The more I become a saint, the more I have to bear fruit in my life every day. Every day I try to fight with my selfish, passionate, sinfulness… daring to go against the current to live the call to holiness. Although I still have many weaknesses and limitations, I am always convinced of God’s love and grace for me through the intercession of the saints.
Asian Lay Leaders Forum was able to complete another session of its online course on the major documents of Pope Francis – Gaudete Et Exsultate in October, exclusively for Vietnamese Participants. The Participants during this session enjoyed a fruitful Input Session followed by an interesting Question and Answer session for about 45 minutes which brought about a broader understanding of various concepts such as ‘Holiness’, ‘Mysticism’, ‘Practical Mysticism’and so on.
The final session for Pakistani participants could not take place that same evening due to an internet outage in Paksitan and awaits being rescheduled. Meanwhile Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and browse there to view all our recorded sessions.
This month IMCS AP’s CLAP program will be based on the theme Religion. It will take place between 12th to 29th November. Kindly join their session by registering at the link below. Last date to apply – 9 November 2021.
Asian Lay Leaders Forum was successfully able to complete 2 batches of its online course on the major documents of Pope Francis – Laudato Si in September, exclusively for Vietnamese and Pakistani participants.
Participants from both countries have expressed positive comments and feed back after joining us in the online course and have been contributing to us their experience and views with written and visual reflections as you can see them mentioned in the first section of the E-Newsletter.
We hope to continue to amplify the reach by doing many more batches of the online course. In this month of October we already have scheduled sessions for both Vietnam and Pakistan on another Major Document of Pope Francis which is Gaudete et Exsultate. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and browse there to view all our recorded sessions.
My Reflection on Laudato Si : Care for our common home
By Merry Adriana
Here I was, on my second session of the online course. Although I had to struggle with my internet connection, which always sent me out of the webinar many times. Beside that, I couldn’t open my video so I only followed the course by listening. But it’s all right, I tried my best to follow and to listen the course carefully. I think it’s good also for my eyes. By closing my eyes I listened and plunged myself in the encyclical letter Laudato Si, care for our common home.
The Holy Father in this encyclical reminds us to consider our Mother Earth, so that she may continue to sustain us. When God created man and other creatures (Genesis 1:26-30) He saw that all were good and beautiful. He gave man the responsibility to take good care of what is around us, so we may live peacefully on this beautiful earth, as we are all connected with each other and with the whole nature, But, instead of protecting her we have come to see ourselves as lords and masters, who entitled to plunder her without control or limit. It seems we have forgotten that there are future generations, who will also need Mother Earth’s care. Nature is like a magnificent book, in which God speaks to us and grant us a glimpse of His infinite beauty and goodness. So, we have to pay attention the message of the Holy Father and take good care of our common home, so that generations yet to come can experience that beauty which God was so proud of when He created this world and entrusted it to the care of man.
St. Francis of Assisi was very much aware of this. He wrote the Canticle of Creatures, so that every generation singing it, could be reminded of God’s beauty in every creature, big or small. St. Francis also told us that if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, then our attitude will be like consumers and exploiters who are unable to set limits to our immediate needs. We become very greedy. Actually we should realize that when we hurt the Earth, we also hurt the poor, we cannot attend to the poor people without dealing with some of the root causes of poverty like the destruction of the environment. Surely we can’t just stand and watch ourselves and other living things die if there is something we can do. We just all have to try to change our ways to help the environment and ourselves. Many people are now working out ways that are likely to help our environment. What differences are you and I making?
We should not think that our efforts – even our small gestures – don’t matter. We only need few courageous persons to take the initiative and the rest would see the sense and pick it up. We all need to have faith and strong belief that it is possible to bring about changes and arrest environmental destruction. Let us all be lovers of nature like St. Francis and let us give heed to the message of Pope Francis in his encyclical letter “ Laudato Si” on care of our common home. Start small from the corner you are in and the change will be infectious.
Dive into the Social Dimension of Evangelization with Evangelii Gaudium
By Willem L. Turpijn
As a Catholic youth minister, who is also involved in YOUCAT Indonesia; the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is one of the most amazing Church documents for me. Being involved in YOUCAT Indonesia, which is a youth catechist movement for the entire Church with the spirit of New Evangelization, it compelled me to read this document. And as a companion for young people, I find that Evangelii Gaudium is an interesting, beautiful, and energetic document of the Church, with clear language, easy to digest, yet pumping motivation to animate the spirit of ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ in daily life, as well as in ministry work, in the midst of society and also amidst young people.
It is still very clear in my memory how I got acquainted with this document. Apart from getting it through the translation of the Documentation and Information Department of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, I also remember very well how I got acquainted with this document at the first YOUCAT International Congress forum in Tagaytay City, Philippines. One of the most highlighted aspect from this document is Pope Francis’ hope that young people can become the “street preachers”, or as in Spanish it is called, Callejeros de la Fe. Not only highlighted in the seminar sessions, but all participants were then sent to the streets in groups to practice how to become the street preachers. Some of us were experienced to draw murals, some were offering prayer through SMS services, some of us were playing a skit about Jesus in the middle of a crowded market, and many other activities. So, obviously this document is very impressive to me.
Evangelii Gaudium is often used by youth ministers like me, while conducting sessions in several cities of Indonesia upon the invitation of the local Diocesan Youth Commission or certain communities.
One of the most important point that I always bring up and emphasise during my session is the title of the document Evangelii Gaudium. I especially the emphasise on the phrase “Joy of the Gospel”, which has an internal nuance, rather than “The Happiness of the Gospel”, which is more external. That is, before proclaiming the Gospel, we must first be filled with the Joy of the Gospel, and that can only happen through our personal relationship with Christ, the Living Gospel.
However, a zoom session with Dr. Paul Hwang, Director of the Asian Lay Leaders Forum really moved me. There is a basic thing that apparently has escaped my attention all this time. Evangelii Gaudium apparently has a deep social nuance. Yes, with Dr. Paul Hwang, my eyes have been progressively opened to the social dimension of evangelism.
Steadily Dr. Paul Hwang helped the participants understand the relationship between one of the most famous documents of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes with the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, and then slowly began to introduce the dimensions of the Church’s Social Teaching which were also contained in Evangelii Gaudium, including how Evangelii Gaudium puts emphasis on attention for the poor. It’s like finding a sparkling gem that I’ve never been aware of.
When I was done marveling at how meticulously Dr. Paul Hwang pointed out the content of the Social Teachings of the Church in Evangelii Gaudium, he then presented something extraordinary which had completely missed from my reading of Evangelii Gaudium. This is the concept of Integral Human Development. As far as I know, this phrase, Integral Human Development, began to emerge during the pontificate of Pope Francis. A dicastery was even formed from the reforms of the fusion of several Pontifical Councils (Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, etc.), and later adopted the name Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. That’s all I know.
But with Dr. Paul Hwang this concept was completely dissected. He introduced the person behind the concept of Integral Human Development, who also turned out to be behind Gaudium et Spes, and how this concept has been found in several documents of the Popes, starting with Pope St. Paul VI, Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and finally, Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium. Dr. Paul Hwang’s exposure is indeed very pithy and evocative, which is also closed with four important principles about peace, and how dialogue, especially interreligious dialogue, is a prerequisite for world peace.
I am truly grateful to have gained such valuable insight through this session. I am truly amazed by Evangelii Gaudium and also by Pope Francis who promulgated it. I think this concept of Integral Human Development is truly a breakthrough that the universal Church should strive for as it contributes to form a better world in the future, starting from now. And we, as part of the Church, should not wait for the situation to become an emergency first in order to start, or wait for the initiation of the clergy to start this movement. As part of God’s people who want to present the Kingdom of God in this world, through our daily work and service; of course, we can and must develop, the concept of Integral Human Development By getting involved in society, having dialogue with others, siding with the marginalized and the poor, or through other simple ways. We need to bring about a transformation in this world to realize the presence of Integral Human Development with what we have and with what and who is in around us.
As Pope Francis hopes, let’s move outside, move to the periphery, be brave and be ready to be hurt and get dirty, to meet and be present for them as part of the missionary disciples. Let’s develop the concept of Integral Human Development from now on and forever!
ALL Forum Successfully completed its second course for Indonesian for participants on the Basic Understanding of Church Teachings on the 21st of August 2021. Forty four Participants successfully completed the course which was held during two consecutive Saturdays. The Participants found the course quite enriching as they were introduced to new perspectives on matters relating to Religion, God, Faith, Paschal Mystery and Trinity.
ALL Forum also Successfully completed its first session of the course Major Documents of Pope Francis – The Joy of The Gospel (Evagelii Gaudium) on the 29th of August 2021 especially for the Vietnamese Participants. This course is held once a month on Sundays. The first session had a great turn out of over 50 participants. There will be 3 more sessions conducted consecutively for them in the upcoming months until November. ALL Forum has a line up of Online courses for many Asian countries in the upcoming months. Follow us on Facebook for updates and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for informative content and recorded sessions of the Online courses.
ALL Forum Successfully Completed its Online Course on Major Documents of Pope Francis for Indonesian Participants
The Online Couse by ALL Forum with the topic ‘Major Documents of Pope Francis’ lead by Dr.Paul Hwang and organised specially for Indonesian participants came to an end after 4 interesting and informative sessions. We had started in the first session in the 1st week of July with ‘Evangeli Gaudium’, the 2nd week with second session on ‘Laudato Si ‘, the third week’s session on ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ and concluded with the 4th week’s session on ‘Fratelli Tutti’.
All in all it was an inspiring and informative session with around 145 participants who joined us multiple times during the 4 session course. Due to the high volume of interested participants who joined in this course, ALL Forum had to divide the participants into two groups (batches), which made it more effective for the learners to participate in discussions during the course.
What made this course more easier for the Indonesian particpants was the inclusion of Language Interpreters during the course. Since English is not a popular vernacular in Indonesia, introducing language interpreters to interpret the session from English to Bahasa Indonesia immensely helped the learners understand the material of the course better.
The recorded lectures of the entire 4 part course is readily available on our own YouTube Channel and the resource material on our website (Archive/Files section) which can be visited anytime for informative purposes and reference. We invite our readers to make use of these readily available resources.
Starting next week ALL Forum will be organising two more weeks of Online Course with the topic ‘Basic Understanding of Church Teachings’ covering areas such as “God and Faith”, Document of Vatican II on Divine Revelation (the Bible, Dei Verbum), “Incarnation and Trinity”, and “Pascal Mystery” .
Reflection after joining Online course – Evangelii Gaudium
By Susana Sitaresmi Kusuma Wardhani
Shalom Asian Lay Leaders Forum, Thank you so much for allowing me to join with your first lecture Joy of the Gospel as a summary of Evangelii Gaudium from our Pope. Your explanations really helped me to understand about my faith and the presence of our Catholic church is not self-centered but reaching out for the poor people.
Your lecture about Evangelii Gaudium taught me the new concepts about integral human development and our church as a field hospital. I see the profound connection between evangelization and human development which much necessarily finds expressions and development in every work of evangelization and encourages all Christians to demonstrate it by their words, attitudes and deeds.
Only after which, we can make dialogue with science, society and have a conversation with other religions and our faith by not opposing them, but by knowing what we should do in our community and our life as a member of the Catholic Church.
After attending the first session, I realized how afraid our churches are and why we need the apostolic letter of the Pope to make us realize the true meaning of the gospel. Amid the pandemic a large part of the people in my parish have gone into hiding, refusing to serve others, even from the safety of their own homes. It seems as though we have made the pretext of the pandemic and the danger contracting the corona virus a reason not to help others.
I also realize that we are surrounded by the sick. Not just their bodies but also their souls and faith. But People today have lost the motivation to serve anymore. The altar boys and girls do not commune anymore, even via smart phones. Their parents refuse to allow them to serve in the church, even when the pandemic was slowing down a couple months ago.
Parents don’t see that the children’s spirits need to be together with their brothers and sisters who are fading away. And somehow it feels as if there is no way for us to grow it again. I feel hopeless. If the children who were active in the church are beginning to leave, then who is left to become the next generation of the Catholics? How are we going to help them? or cure them?
On the other hand most people believe that the virus exists only If they themselves or their close relatives have suffered from it, badly. If not, then the virus doesn’t exist.
Which is risking the life of the doctors and nurses who are trying to make them stay at home or isolated in the hospital.
If our children have not found a huge barrier in their life where they feel the need to return to the church, then what can we do?
I realize, just like a field hospital as Pope Francis has mentioned, we should do 2 things at once: (1) Is to be opened for the sick, opened to the possibility of contagions, opened to be dirty and poor, opened to the possibility of being an object of anger and frustration of the people we care for; and (2) to seek for the sick and to bring them into our field hospital, our church, to be cared for.