The Jakarta Post
As the country has encountered instances of intolerance throughout the year, carol services in cathedrals and churches across the country have called for interreligious unity.
The Jakarta Cathedral in Central Jakarta promoted the theme Kita Bhinneka, Kita Indonesia (We are diverse, We are Indonesia) with decorations inspired by the beauty of Indonesia's islands.
"This year, we are implementing the third principle of Pancasila, the principle of the unity of Indonesia,” the church's spokesperson Susyana Suwadie said as quoted by tribunnews.com.
In Pontianak, West Kalimantan, archbishop of the St. Joseph Cathedral Mgr. Agustinus Agus called for maintaining diversity in Indonesia, as well as increasing security, comfort and peace.
“Indonesia, unity, Pancasila and diversity must be something that we constantly fight for," Agus said on Tuesday, adding that the large, growing and diverse nature of the population had been preserved since the time of the country’s founding fathers.
West Kalimantan Governor Sutarmidji, who visited the church with West Kalimantan Police chief Insp. Gen. Didi Haryono, Tanjungpura military commander Maj. Gen. Achmad Supriadi and Pontianak Mayor Edi Rusdi Kamtono, also said diversity does not mean division but unity.
Agus said the government's visit to the church was evidence that the government was implementing its mission on unity.
The priest at the Maria Catholic Church Ratu Para Rasul in Pamekasan, East Java, Rama Deddy Sulistya, also called for maintaining harmony and peace to bring love to others.
“We are united in diversity and this is God’s gift,” he said in a carol service attended by 400 people.
In Semarang, Central Java, 400,000 Catholics spread across 100 parishes in the Semarang archdiocese celebrated Christmas by reflecting on the themes related to the peace of living together as Indonesians.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, accompanied by Diponegoro military commander Maj. Gen. Mochamad Effendi and Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Condro Kirono, visited the Semarang Cathedral. Ganjar said Christmas in Surabaya was tinged with joy.
"I met a number of people in a happy atmosphere. They expressed happiness about the trans-Java toll road that had just been inaugurated by the President. They were also praying for the tsunami victims in Banten," he said. (ggq)