BUNAN GEGA – A group of 66 persons comprising members of St Jude’s Parish Council, Bidayuh Bukar Sadong Bible translators and their family members recently made a visit to Sanggau Diocese in Kalimantan Barat (Indonesia) from 11-13 July. The group was led by the Rector of St Jude’s Parish, Fr Jerome Juleng, who is also in charge of the Bible translation project. The journey which started on a Friday, took about four hours by bus from the Tebedu border point to Sanggau.
Upon reaching Sanggau, the group was placed at Laverna Retreat Centre and given a very warm welcome by the priests, religious sisters and members of the Parish Council. Later in the night, they were briefed by the Parish Priest, Fr Bartolo, on the physical and spiritual development of the Church in Sanggau Diocese. He said Sanggau Diocese consists of 23 Parishes and about 300,000 Catholics. At one time it was under the Archdiocese of Pontianak, but 25 years ago it became a separate diocese.
Fr Jerome, in his speech, said that the main purpose of the visit was to create a mutual relationship and understanding between the two parishes across the border. It was also an opportunity to see and to learn about the Church activities and developments in Sanggau Diocese.
The next morning they attended a retreat at the Laverna Centre conducted by Fr Frans, a Swiss who has been working there since 1959. The half-day retreat which culminated with a penitential service and Mass was very enriching to all who were there.
A cultural presentation was held on the Saturday night in the hall next to the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Both groups presented their traditional dance with full sets of costumes. This was followed by singing and dancing.
The next day, the group had the opportunity to visit ‘Gua Santo Maria’ and also the town centre of Sanggau.
On the way back, the group stopped at various churches along the way, namely, Pusat Damai Bonda Maria (Bodok) (another pilgrimage and retreat centre), the Church of Christ the King (Sosok), the Catholic Church Kuala Dua, St Paulus Church (Baduai), St Paulus Church (Karangan), and St Fransiskus Assisi Church (Sontas, Entikong).
It was a very tiring but enriching journey. The group was very happy to learn that the Catholic faith among the local population in the neighbouring country is growing at a greater pace without much obstacle.
Stephen Buding Salem