Catholic Youths Mar Easter Mass in Papua

As millions of Catholics in the country spent Saturday evening praying in churches to mark the night before Easter, youths marred the occasion in Papua by vandalizing the home of a man they said was disturbing the Mass.

Angered by the deafening sound of firecrackers, young worshipers at St. Fransiskus Asisi Koperapoka Church in Timika ran outside to investigate.

They found that firecrackers were being lit near the home of Kadir Sadipun, 65, who was busy preparing for a wedding.

The firecrackers had been set off by teenagers, but this did not stop the youths from stoning Kadir’s home and breaking his windows.

Kadir managed to flee, but a wedding tent set up outside his home was destroyed. The youths then returned to the church.

The priest leading the proceedings, Father Amandus Rahadat, said the congregation had heard the continuous sounds of firecrackers and he had seen the youths run from the church.

“I had asked them to remain calm and not react to the noise coming from outside,” Father Amandus said, adding that he had asked all churchgoers to keep the peace and respect one another, particularly during religious celebrations.

Police were seen guarding Kadir’s house after the attack.

Christian communities across Papua welcomed the dawning of Easter by lighting torches in their backyards.

The backyards in villages such as Bouw, Amroben, Swapodibo, Burokub and Mandala cast a festive flow to mark the special religious event.

“Churchgoers at 3 a.m. on Sunday held a dawn Easter parade carrying lit torches,” Father George Korwa said.

Easter Sunday marks the day Jesus Christ is believed to have risen from the dead, two days after his crucifixion, which is marked on Good Friday.

In Jakarta, celebrations were concentrated at the cathedral in Central Jakarta, the largest Catholic church in the city.

The cathedral celebrated five Masses on Sunday to accommodate the thousands of parishioners.

In the city of Ambon, incessant rain that started just after midnight did not stop worshippers from celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

Easter celebrations in the city began on Saturday evening.

Drenched churchgoers were forced indoors for their celebrations, which included a reenactment of the biblical story.

In Yogyakarta, thousands of Catholics attended celebrations on Saturday night at the Santo Antonius Church in Kotabaru.

In his sermon, Father Wisnu Murti told parishioners that the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ had saved mankind.

“All our sins and mistakes were wiped out with the crucifixion. We rise today with Jesus and begin our new lives, with hope that we should not sin,” Wisnu said.

Source: Jakarta Globe

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