Indonesia’s Catholic Church ‘paying very high price’ for commitment during pandemic

At least 120 consecrated persons in Indonesia, including priest and nuns, succumbed to COVID-19 this year

More than 120 consecrated persons in Indonesia, including priest and nuns, succumbed to COVID-19 complications from January to September this year alone.

A report on the Italian news agency Fides said the religious persons were infected “in the exercise of their mission of pastoral care, spiritual assistance, and accompaniment” of the sick and the suffering.

“The Indonesian Catholic Church is paying a very high price for its frontline commitment to bringing care and hope,” the report quoted Father Joseph Kristanto Suratman of the Commission for Seminaries of Indonesia’s bishops’ conference.

“We have a serious concern for all consecrated persons in our country who give themselves completely without fear,” said the priest, adding that “the Lord sends us vocations to consecrated life, but it takes many years to form new religious and consecrated persons.”

A report on the Indonesian Catholic portal, the large number of victims among the religious represents a huge loss for the Catholic Church of Indonesia.

“We hope and pray that this COVID-19 pandemic ends as soon as possible so that we can resume our normal life,” said Sister Gabriella, an Augustinian nun in West Kalimantan.

“We are in the hands of God, but our mission continues despite the difficulties that we are encountering,” she said.

Sister Gabriella said that many other non-Catholic religious leaders also died during the pandemic.

“The very nature of their mission, which may require trips to various communities or commitment to hospitals, schools, social centers, exposes them to the virus,” she said.

“Yet they did not hold back, they remained close to the faithful when they needed it,” said the nun.

As of Sunday, November 14, Indonesia reported 339 new COVID-19 cases, raising its total infections to 4,250,855.

The country’s Health ministry said the death toll rose by 15 to 143,659, while 503 people recovered in the past 24 hours.

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