A Share From Mgr. Paskalis B Syukur Ordination

Dear brothers and sisters, I just came back from attending the Mgr. Paskalis B. Syukur OFM ordination at Bogor Indonesia. I use to combine one event with other events in order to save the time and expensive of traveling differently. This moment also I used to meet different friars and people who came to attend the celebration. It was great time and useful time.

The Same Flight with General Minister
Br. Ronacai the only aspirant we have in Lamsai gave a great help for me by sending me to Suwarnamphumi airport early in the morning February 21st, 2014. The day before I was in university and backed home in late night. So it was heavy day to travel with sleepy. But the desire to join the celebration of Mgr. Paskalis who spent more than 13 year as general delegate for Thailand Foundation make me felt mild moving my steps to the airport and Bogor.

After checking in I spent some time inside airport. It was not so crowed so I could get inside airport very early. Usually Thai airways always crowed in the check in desk. The demonstration and uncertain political situation in Thailand could be a reason people canceled their travel to Thailand. The flight was going well and on time. There were many empty seats. It took off at 08.20 and arrived around 12.00 noon time. It arrived on time as well. Since I did not bring baggage, I just walked out Soekarno-Hatta airport because a friend of mine was coming to fetch me and brought me to Bogor. Exited from the door the first person I saw was Br. Adrianus Sunarko OFM, the provincial of Indonesian province. He asked, “Do you see General Minister?” “No”, I responded. “Did you use Thai airways”, he asked again. “Yes”, I answered again. Since my friend came late I had time to be with the provincial waiting for General Minister Br. Michael Perry OFM and Br. Babu Jose OFM, the provincial of Indian province. And yes, we were at the same flight. Both of them came when the plane was boarding, I had entered and seated behind and both of them had seats in the front. After landing they went out first and found their luggage but I went our directly. I still spent time with them before leaving for Bogor. It takes around to two till three hours, depend on the traffic.

We arrived in Haris hotel while General Minister’s group was having their lunch. After saying hello with different people I recognized and checked in I just had time 30 minutes before the committee brought us again to the Cathedral for Salve. In the Haris Hotel most of the bishop from far stayed there plus some guests from outside and of course some lay peoples who joined the celebration. General Minister stayed in Bishop Palace just in other side of the Cathedral. Together with me, beside General Minister and Babu Jose, were also Paul Smith OFM – the provincial of Australia, John Wong – the Custos of Singapore, Greg Radoblado – the provincial of Philippine together with Br. Andy, and our Defenitor General Gabriel Mathias.

The Salve Magum
Friday, at 17.00 in Cathedral of Bogor was held the Salve attended by some bishops, Franciscans brothers and sisters and some religious congregations and parishioners specially from Bogor. The ‘candidate of emeritus bishop’ Mgr. Mikhael Angkur OFM was led the salve, attended also by the Nuncio and the Archbishop of Jakarta Mgr. Ignatius Suhario. During the salve also, Mgr. Paskalis express his obedience to the Pope through the Nuncio and blessing rite of the instruments of the new bishop. The seminarians from Bogor were animating the liturgy with their choir.

After the salve was time to dinner and greeting each other. It was nice time for me meeting different people that long time already we did not meet each other. It was time also to have picture with Mgr. Paskalis because I was sure that the following day I would not have chance to meet him anymore. Coming back to hotel I spent some times with Greg and Andy with some priests and bishops in the hotel with beer and live music. Thank you for the fraternal gathering and sharing.

The Mass and Celebration
During the breakfast before the mass, was time to meet the friars who attended the celebration to speak about our next FCAO meeting. Br. Gabriel Mathias was with us. Since FCAO meeting should be done this year so SAAOC and EAC meeting will be postponed to the same day with FCAO meeting. Even many friars proposed Thailand as host for the FCAO meeting next September 2014, but we agreed to move to other countries. It might be New Zealand and/or Taiwan. We wait for the confirmation from the president of both conferences.

The ordination and celebration was held in an International Stadium that can accommodate ten thousand people. The mass was started at 09.30. The place is not so far from the hotel only walking distance but since we were in big group and went with car so one hour before we were getting ready in the lobby of the hotel. From 37 dioceses in Indonesia, 41 bishops attended the ordination. It means most of the bishop in Indonesia attended it plus some emeritus bishops. There are more than 200 priests and more than 9.000, peoples joined the celebration. To me it was the longest bishop ordination I ever attended. It took more than four hours. The mass was presided by the previous bishop of Bogor and the sermon by archbishop of Jakarta. Even the mass was around three hours but the atmosphere in general was very good and conducive. It might be in the big stadium with AC and also everything was organizes well. The sermon and the regards from the different bishop I will share it with you in the next Lamsai news.

After the mass (the blessing) from the new bishop, the other invitation people from government and other religion joined the celebration. Attending in this celebration were the head of local government and head of local parliament from the district of Bogor, the representatives from local armies group in Bogor and the different heads of religions in District of Bogor. Beside it, there were the representatives of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Economy creative and of course the Ministry of Religion. All together the ordination and celebration took more than four hours not including time for meal. All the participants took their foods and they could eat everywhere. The bishops and the invited people from different religion and government had their own place, the priests had their own place and the people received the food in the boxes so they could eat everywhere. During the lunch I spent some time with General Minister to give information about our situation in Foundation and to make some plan for his next canonical visit. We will be informed the date of his official canonical visit.

One thing should be noted from my point of view is that the liturgy was very “roman”. Most of the songs were in Latin. Some priests felt the lack of ‘inculturative’ dimension in the liturgy. There was no song with “Sunda” (Sunda is original tribe in this diocese) or even traditional dance.

Visit and Meeting
The rest two days I used to visit the parish and friars where I was before. I stayed one night in “ABAS” orphanage belongs to a former poor Clare sister. I had mass with the children there. It was historical place for me because when I was brother (1994) I spent one month or two months there for exposure. I spent also time to visit our orphanage (St. Yusuf) and visit the friars there and of course visit the parish (St. Peter parish), the parish I spent one year and more as deacon and new priest before going to the mission. The rest two days I stayed with the friars in the orphanage as well (St. Vincentius Putera). I was given occasion by the director to share the body and blood of Christ with the children there.

Beside encountering the friars I also spent some time with some friends who wanted to share their life with me. And I also spent time together with Br. Peter Aman who was the general visitator for Pakistan Custody, since Br. Khushi is part of our foundation. The last day before going back to Thailand (Tuesday, 25 February) I was given occasion to present about our hospice project to a group name: Rotary Club. This is a charity club and this year their focus is to help the HIV/AIDS patients. We pray that they may extend their help for our hospice project.

Congratulation and proficiat for Mgr. Paskalis for his new ministry and good work for him. Thank you for Mgr. Paskalis who spent more than 13 years to animate Thailand Foundation as General Delegate. Thank you for all the committee who organized this event. Every time if I go to Indonesia, there is no enough time to take rest because of meeting different people and wake up early in the morning (around 04.00 a.m) because of the voice of “Azan” from the mosque but I enjoy it. Thank you for the friars who have spent fraternal time with me. Thank you also for friends who have shared their life and struggle with me. I might not give something or anything but at least I have listened to them and bring it in prayer.

Let us pray for Mgr. Paskalis for his new ministry and of course we pray for our new general delegate. Thank you brothers for giving me occasion to attend the ordination and celebration of Mgr. Paskalis Bruno Syukur OFM.

Fr. Gregory Pontus OFM.

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