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Monday, October 31, 2011

Pastoral Visit to Tg Selur, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia

Gereja Sta Maria Immakulata, Tarakan, Kalimantan Timur

Tarakan : The Diocese of Tg Selur, Kalimantan Timur of Indonesia is the nearest diocese to the Diocese of Sandakan. It is the transit diocese to the vast number of Indonesian Catholic migrants from Flores and other adjacent islands in Nusantara Timur Tengah. The migrants, either legal or illegal residing in the diocese are encountering much difficulties in many aspects of life, basic needs and spiritual accompaniment and development.

L-R : Sdra Anton, Francis Tan, Pastor Antonius, Pastor Emanuel, Msgr Yustinus, Bishop Julius, Sr Barbara Lip, Sr Lidwina, Sr Ermilinda Too ssps, Alison Neri, Chin Poh Choo
Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan led a 6-member delegation to Tarakan for a dialogue session with Msgr Yustinus Harjosusanto, Bishop of the Diocese of Tg Selur and members of the Social Action Team on 26th - 27th October 2011 at Santa Maria Immakulata Church, sited at the vicinity of the town. The purpose of the session is to exchange ideas on how best both dioceses could possibly work together to reach out to the migrants more effectively especially in strengthening their faith while on the move, restoring their dignity and hope.

The members from the Diocese of Sandakan included Francis Tan, the Executive Secretary of the Diocese, Poh Choo, Director of Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd Sabah (PKGS), Sr Barbara Lip RGS, Sr Lidwina RGS and Alison Neri, staff member of PKGS. Representing the Diocese of Tg Selur were Pastor Emanuel, Pastor Antonius Rajabana, Anton from Nunukan and Sr Ermilinda Too ssps.
1st session facilitated by Francis Tan
The first session, 26th October was on an insight into the Diocese of Sandakan and the plight of migrants presented by Francis Tan, through a power point presentation followed by a movie on the realities of migrants in Sandakan and the response taken by the local Church. The dialogue session opened up great opportunities for both the receiving and transit dioceses to complement each other in reaching out to the migrants, outgoing and home-coming.
2nd session facilitated by Poh Choo
Poh Choo of PKGS, on 27th October presented a summary of the Good Shepherd's initial experiences with the migrants and the many challenges encountered and the outcomes of their commitment. PKGS, established just a year ago in Sandakan has established a presence among migrant communities through their shelter and support services. The many outreach, learning and formation programs has drawn the migrants very much closer to the church, making them well integrated and felt supported.
Bishop Julius sharing his thought
In the later part of the day, after much deliberation and extensive exploration on possibilities to bring good to the migrants, both dioceses resolved to act accordingly in the recommended related immigration issues;

Inter diocesan collaboration through regular dialogues and visits

Establish an efficient and effective network system of partners in migrant ministry

Identify contact persons for the receiving and transit dioceses

Transit diocese to hold awareness program for migrants
Exchange of ideas
Joint effort in forming volunteers to better serve in the learning program in the receiving diocese

Keeping a proper registry for marriages and baptisms at the transit diocese

Transit diocese will act to procure relevant documents from the sending diocese

To meet among the sending, transit and the receiving dioceses
Much cooperation is needed between the dioceses to see to the success of the agreed recommendations just as St Paul wrote in 1 Cor 3 : 6, ‘I  planted, Apollos watered, but  God was causing the growth.'

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