October 4, 2018 was a great day for “East Indonesian” Carmelites in the Province of Indonesia. They opened the 50th anniversary celebration of Carmel’s arrival on the island of Flores which contains Indonesia’highest Catholic population. Carmelites have served in Flores since 1969. The celebration took place in The Holy Cross Parish of Mauloo-Maumere-Indonesia in a Mass attended by Carmelite friars, sisters of various congregations and many local parishioners. Fr. Barnabas Krispinus Ginting, O.Carm, the 1st Conciliarius led the service together with Fr. Telesforus Jenti, O.Carm.,Vicar of Maumere Diocese, Fr. Frumentius Ebu, O.Carm., parish priest of Mauloo and dozen of Carmelite priests.
In his sermon, Fr. John don Bosco Djawa, O.Carm. shared the message of Jesus’ Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. He emphasized that Jesus was “always in prayer” no matter the situation. This notion of being “always in prayer” has also been fundamental to Carmelite spirituality along with service and fraternity. Prayer provides the basis of for authentic service and fraternity. For this reason, Fr. John urged Carmelites to be “always in prayer”. “If this happens all people will experience Jesus transfiguration because of our presence as carmelites” said the former Commissary of the East Indonesia Commissariat (part of the Indonesia Province).
Fr. Jenti, the Vicar of Maumere, who has been the chairman of the celebration committee, gave his impressions in a speech after the service. He emphasized the importance of this occasion and explained why Mauloo was chosen for the opening celebration. According to our history, three pioneers began Carmel’s work among the people of Flores Island. They were Fr. Ignasius Widodo, O.Carm, Fr. Fransiskus Sardjono, O.Carm and Br. Yakobus Suradji, O.Carm. “Their work”, said the first East Indonesia Carmelite to become Vicar of Maumere Diocese, “has given root to Carmel’s service to the Catholic Church of East Indonesia”. Fr. Jenti also thanked everyone, especially parishioners of Mauloo, who have been supporting Carmelites since the beginning of their presence in Flores.
The mission of our Order in Flores depended on an agreement between Mgr. Donaus Djagom, SVD (the Archbisop of Ende-Flores) and Fr. Hardjoko Hardjomardjojo, O.Carm (the first Prior Provincial of Indonesia). The Archbishop wanted to invite as many religious congregations as possible to help in the SVD mission. The SVDs sought to strengthen the local Church. The Carmelites of the Indonesia Province enthusiastically answered this invitation and the Holy Cross Parish of Mauloo-Maumere was the starting point to begin this evangelical mission. Thus, on October 4th, 1969, the three were welcomed by Mgr. Donatus and many parishioners into the gate of Mauloo Parish.
The great works of these three pioneers has been a blessing to many especially to our Order in the Eastern part of Indonesia. As we know, Flores Island has been a place where many Indonesian Carmelites come from nowadays. There are three formation houses which have more than 30 members: promising numbers for the future of our Order.
The opening celebration of the 50th Anniversary Carmel’s arrival in Flores Island was closed with a dinner. The foods were very traditional prepared by the parishioners. As usual, there was traditional dancing. All sang in joy and happiness. According to the plan, there will be many activities until October 4th, 2019. They include sporting events, biblical games, youth camp, musical and arts performances, charity bazaars and reforesting activities.