Vatican Ambassador to Indonesia Mgr Leopoldo Girelli is scheduled to visit Lake Sentani Festival arena at Kalkote resort in Jayapura district on Sunday, June 13, 2010.
Jayapura episcopal spokesman Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar said here on Thursday that the Vatican Nuncios Apostolic Mgr Leopoldo Girelli would visit the land of Papua next week.
“The Vatican envoy will come to Papua as part of his pastoral mission, but he will also take his time to visit the Lake Sentani Festival arena to obtain first hand information about preparations for such an annual cultural event,” Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar said.
He added that the Vatican envoy was profoundly interested in the Lake Sentani Festival, themed “Loving Culture for Our Future,” because for him, whoever loves and preserves traditional and cultural values, the same has prepared an expected future for the next generation.
The bishop said that in principle, the Catholic Church in Papua respected the local culture and tradition as an integral part of the life of local people.
Meanwhile, Jayapura district head Habel Melkias Suwae said he had been informed by Bishor Leo Laba Ladjar that the Vatican envoy during his pastoral mission in Papua would visit Lake Sentani Festival arena.
“As the host, the Jayapura provincial administration and the people will sincerely receive the visit to Papua by the Vatican ambassador to Indonesia,” Habel Melkias said.
According to him, the people in Papua are made up of different ethnicities and religions but they can coexist in perfect harmony with one commitment to preserving the values of local tradition and culture.
He said Lake Sentani Festival would be a momentum to strengthen the local tradition and culture and to introduce it to international community.
Lake Sentani festival will last from June 19-23, 2010 and serve as the gateway to a year-long tourism industry in Papua.
The festival this year will be the third of its kind since it was held for the first time in 2008 and the second in the following year.
“The first festival in 2008 attracted around 2,000 foreign and domestic tourists. The number rose to around 5,000 in the second event. This year in the third festival, we hope to see more than 10,000 tourists,” Habel said.
In 2008, the Papua Tourism Office organized the first Lake Sentani Festival from July 16 to 19 to support the annual Baliem Valley Festival in Jayawijaya district.
Since then, the festival was held as an effort to protect the culture of Jayapura district, especially at the areas around Lake Sentani.
Located some 75 meters above sea level and surrounded by beautiful hills, the 3.63-hectare Lake Sentani is a perfect place for fishing, swimming, canoeing, skiing, and other kinds of water sports.
It means, he said, that in this case tourism will strengthen the identity of the people of Papua, preserve their traditional and cultural values, step up their economy as well as to introduce Papua to international community.
Therefore, Habel added that the Jayapura district administration would make every effort to develop the attractive villages around Lake Sentani to constantly attract as many tourists as possible.
The festival committee had prepared 1,500 dancers from 24 villages around the lake, while villagers have been encouraged to accommodate the guests and tourists in their own homes to show their sincere hospitality.
Source: Antara News