PIR Butong, Indonesia – Greetings dear confreres. Hopefully, all are in good health. This time, we will share the activities of St. Montfort PIR Butong Parish about the celebration of the parish patron's party. The parish's anniversary celebrations are held for nearly a month, during April. We carry out faith-building activities, recreational activities to strengthen fellowship, and various social and humanitarian activities. All these activities are designed under one theme "Dare to Take Risks for God".
The preparations for the celebration of the parish patron's feast begin to be seen on the Second Sunday of Lent. On this second Sunday, the Parish Patron Feast Committee and united with the Easter Committee were formed from the three Communities in the parish center, namely the Maria Fatima Community, St. Peter's Community, and St. Joseph's Community. The committee is led by Mr. Ludovikus Paor. The committee will work closely with the parish priest in animating all activities around the parish patron's party.
There are several activities carried out to fill the celebration of this protective party. First, social service activities. This activity began with the committee and Catholic Youth Group - Catholic Teenager Group programs to clean up the Church and Rectory, as well as several public places in Bukit Sawit Village. In the first three weeks of Lent, the Easter Committee coordinates the people to clean up the environment around the church and presbytery, as well as the parish garden. The committee's coordination was very good, so that the surroundings of the church and presbytery, as well as the parish garden, looked very clean. During the last two weeks of Lent, the Easter committee with the Catholic Youth Group - Catholic Teenager Group, focuses on cleaning public places, such as markets and village parks. Even these public places look very clean after the trash is removed and the weeds are cut.
Second, humanitarian social activities in the form of the distribution of gifts, free health, and medical services, as well as special services for the elderly, sick people, and mental illness. This program started with the action of young people who are members of the Catholic Youth Group, Catholic Teenager Group, and THS-THM groups (Martial arts groups) by giving gifts to the sick and the elderly in nine parish center environments. They collected a kilo to five kilos of rice at the rectory two days before the gifts were given. Some provide other types of necessities, such as sugar, toiletries, and snacks. Then, the gifts were distributed to people who need them, especially the sick and the elderly, on Sunday afternoon April 7, 2023.
The activity of distributing gifts was also carried out by the Sunday School and The Pontifical Society of The Holy Childhood. Their advisers organized the children to have a gift-giving activity. They also visited sick and elderly people who had not been visited by the Catholic Youth Group in previous programs. The activity of giving gifts by several categorical groups of young people received a good response from all people. This is because young people are trained to act in love and compassion from an early age.
The action by the Catholic Youth Group - The Pontifical Society of The Holy Childhood and their friends was followed by the Parish Patron Party Committee program through the provision of gifts and special health services for mental illness throughout the parish area. The committee, together with the parish priest and brothers, as well as the daily council, goes from the parish to the stations. This special service is not only given to Catholics but also non-Catholics, and Hindu Muslims.
This humanitarian social activity is also carried out through free medical services. This activity was initiated by the committee for the protective party, the parish health section, and the health workers as well as in collaboration with the parish priest. The cost of procuring medicine is borne by the parish treasury. Health workers are grouped into two teams to go provide free medical treatment at company stations and camps. This free medical treatment program is usually combined with the tour of the priests and brothers in March-April. The free program services are closed with public health services at the parish center on Monday morning April 24, 2023.
Third, Recreation Activities. The celebration of the parish patron's party is also filled with various recreational activities. The recreation activity was opened with a boys and girls volleyball match starting in mid of March 2023. This activity was animated by the Parish Patron Party Committee. The men's and women's volleyball competitions were held in the afternoon considering that in the morning most of the people are workers for companies and private oil palm plantations. Despite being busy at work, most of the parishioners in the nine neighborhoods of the parish center enthusiastically took part in this sports competition.
Recreation activities were carried out grandly on Monday afternoon, April 24, 2023. There were several recreational activities carried out by the people, including a sack relay competition by husband-and-wife pairs, a marbles race by elementary school children, a tug of war competition by groups of men and women, a water relay race by a Catholic Youth Group, a balloon race by our parents and teenagers. This grand recreational activity was animated by the Catholic Youth Group. The recreational activities with various light competitions were very exciting and full of laughter.
Kempat, the Peak Liturgical Celebration. The culmination of all activities within the framework of the celebration of the patron's feast is the liturgical celebration. Before the celebration of Saint Montfort's feast day, we made mental preparations through the Novena and Triduum Saint Montfort with various sub-themes from April 25 to 27, 2023. On the first day of the Triduum, we reflected on the theme of "dare to take risks for God" which was taken from the 2023-chapter theme. Triduum Day the second took the theme “Saint Montfort Father of the Poor. While the last day of the Triduum took the theme "Saint Montfort the apostle of youth".
The celebration of the parish patron's party with all parishioners in the parish will be held on the afternoon of April 28, at 17.00. The parish priest in his sermon said that anyone who follows the spirit of Saint Montfort must be able to take risks for the sake of Allah. Risks come because we must face rejection from the world, rejection by our family because of worldly activities that never end, and rejection from within ourselves who want to live happily and seek security without wanting to sacrifice for others and God. The world today, especially the youth, is being challenged by a very strong lifestyle of individualism and hedonism. It is easy for people to build their world with their gadgets. Whereas we live in the world to be a blessing and a channel of God's love. Saint Montfort invites Christians to live in sensitivity, full of enthusiasm with strong commitment, and discipline, and live in hope and full of love, especially for the poor and simple.
The climax of Saint Montfort Parish feast day ends with a simple sayonara after mass. The Dissolution celebration was filled with the distribution of prizes to the winners of the competition. This Dissolution was also accompanied by songs performed by several parishioners. There was one surprise event from the ivory bull environment. They performed their songs, especially for parish priests and associate pastors. The sayonara celebration was closed by the parish priest's welcome. After that, the daily council and Catholic Youth Group, and the SJMJ sisters held a joint dinner at the rectory. Here are some of the activities we did to enliven the parish patron's feast. All these activities are concrete-pastoral translations of Montfortian spirituality and the theme of the 2023 chapter.
Bro. Gaspar Triono Jeraman, SMM
Pastoral Brother at St. Montfort PIR Butong