Doctor of Mariology from Reinha Rosari Larantuka

Rome, March 19, 2024 - Today (19/3), a Montfortan priest from Indonesia named Fr. Fidelis Bolo Wotan, SMM submitted his doctoral dissertation at the Pontifica Facoltà Teologica Marianum Roma. This priest, who is usually known as Father Fidel, will become one of the number of Doctors of Dogmatic Theology with a specialization in the field of Mariology. Most likely (if I'm not mistaken), he will become the first Doctor of Theology with a specialization in the field of Mariology (read: Mariologist) from and in Indonesia. The doctoral study was completed over a period of approximately 3 years (October 2021 - March 2024). When asked about the feelings he experienced, Fr. Fidel said: "Everything was like a dream, when the moderator (read: supervisor) told me the schedule for the trial to defend the results of my research. After finishing all the writing in December 2023, the only thing I'm looking forward to is the exam schedule from the moderator. I received certainty about the date of this exam at the beginning of last February. I feel happy and everything is really like a dream.”

This dissertation session coincides with the time when the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary (March 19). This moment seemed to be one of the realizations of St. Joseph, as contained in the Gospel reading on this Feast (cf. Matt. 1:16, 18-21.24a). From the womb of the Pontifica Facoltà Teologica Marianum-Roma, a new Mariologist was born for the Church. He wrote a dissertation with the title, "SEMANA SANTA AND DEVOTION TO "TUAN MA" (MARY, MATER DOLOROSA): An Inheritance of Faith in the Work of Evangelization of Dominicans Missionaries in Larantuka, Flores-Indonesia (Theological, Interreligious and Cultural Dimension)" . This 543-page dissertation speaks specifically and in detail about Semana Santa and the devotion to Mary, "Tuan Ma" which has been around for more than 5 centuries in East Flores. In front of the examining lecturers and participants present, Pastor Fidel presented a very good description of the results of his research.

We have high hopes for the contribution that this new Mariologist will make to the birth of Marian-theological reflections from and in the context of the life of faith of Indonesian Catholics. We are also waiting for his contribution in promoting Marian devotions that live in Indonesia to be introduced to the world. One of the biggest difficulties faced by this Mariologist from Solor-East Flores while conducting his research was the limited sources of written references. He said, "I have to admit that one of the biggest difficulties faced while conducting research was the lack of written references that talked about "Semana Santa and Devotion to Tuan Ma". Theological writings, especially mariological writings that examine this theme, are also very limited. There are several writers who talk about "Semana Santa" in Larantuka, but they explain it from another perspective. Furthermore, Father Fidel stated, "There are several sources that I found in French and Dutch but they are incomplete, especially the description of the devotion in relation to Church documents. Apart from that, I also had to go into original Portuguese language sources which specifically spoke about the early periods of the Evangelization Mission in Solor-Larantuka. At first I didn't find many sources, but thanks to efforts to collect existing sources one by one, I was able to find great wealth in writing this theme."

The hearing to defend his doctoral thesis today (19/3) was the peak and beginning for Fr. Fidel, SMM. It became the pinnacle, because he had completed the entire series of lecture pilgrimages in the field of Mariology. This is the beginning, because he will begin his pilgrimage as a "Mariologist" with the duties and responsibilities he will receive in the Church and the Society of Mary of Montfortan (SMM). His reflective contributions in the field of Mariology are highly anticipated to help Church members walk and grow in true devotion to Our Lady. He emphasized, "Through this article, I hope that all Catholics in Indonesia and specifically in Solor-Larantuka and East Flores and even NTT can gain the wealth of faith from the Marial devotions that they carry out every day. At the same time, I want to invite them to know that the Virgin Mary that you and I love is only a means that God uses for our salvation. He is indeed in the middle of the people's lives, but he is not the center. Jesus remains the sole center of the life of faith. Mary is present in the midst of the lives of Christians precisely in order to help them get closer and unite their own lives with Christ, her Son more perfectly, as emphasized by Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort [1673-1716]."

This new mariologist explains the importance of the participation of Mary's sons and daughters in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. This participation is the fruit of their devotion and devotion to the Mother of Jesus. “One of the most important things to remember and understand is that Devotion to Our Lady should lead them to participate in the Liturgical life and Celebration of the Ecclesiastical Sacraments. Catholics should realize that liturgical celebrations and ecclesiastical sacraments are the culmination of their life of faith and which lead them to a mature life of faith, namely, the attainment of Christlikeness. "The balance between liturgy and religious piety (Marial devotion) as confirmed and recommended by Church documents remains the main priority in living our Christian life as Catholics," added Father Fidel.

Fr. Hironimus Edison, SMM