Indonesia - "Terrorists want to scare us, we must stay serene and pray for God to convert their hearts"

15 May 2018

(ANS - Surabaya) - "It is traumatic to know that it was a whole family of bombers to act, attack: what are we injecting into the minds of children? Are they being educated in extremism?" This is the bitter question that the Indonesian bishops ask after the barbaric attacks on Sunday, May 13, in Surabaya, words expressed by the Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Indonesia, Fr. Siprianus Hormat.

Shortly before the Sunday Masses, three churches were hit: one Catholic, one Pentecostal and one Anglican. A new attack hit a police station in Surabaya yesterday, May 14: the total sum of the two days of violence is 25 dead (of which 13 bombers) and over 50 people injured.

Among the Catholic victims there is also Aloysius Bayu, "who died for having blocked the two suicide bombers, otherwise the explosion would have caused even more victims," explained the parish priest, Fr. Alexius Kurdo Irianto.

Because of the danger of new attacks, the churches have asked their faithful to be careful during functions, to watch out for people who do not normally attend their parish. Furthermore, several churches intend to equip themselves with security cameras. "Our faithful are afraid, but we pastors constantly invite them to be calm. The terrorists want to scare us, but we must remain serene and pray that God converts their hearts," said Monsignor Robertus Rubiyatmoko, archbishop of Semarang, whose ecclesiastical province includes the diocese of Surabaya.

The only positive result of this situation is the solidarity shown by the local Islamic community and the improvement of inter-religious relations. "Next to the archbishopric, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists gathered to pray together."

Even Pope Francis on Sunday, after the recital of the Regina Coeli, expressed his great sorrow for the incident and his solidarity with the Indonesian people. "I am particularly close to the dear people of Indonesia, and especially to the Christian communities in the city of Surabaya, which have been severely hit by the serious attack on places of worship," he said. "I raise my prayer for all the victims and their relatives. Together, let us invoke the God of peace to stop these violent actions, and in the heart of all, may they find not feelings of hatred and violence, but of reconciliation and fraternity."

In the city of Surabaya, the Salesians have been active since 2009, where they animate a center that consists of a parish, a parish school and an oratory.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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