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First decade of committed Salesian presence- Surabaya

By Fr. Reo Ferdinandus, SDB

Surabaya, Indonesia, 23 February 2018 -- Surabya (= Suro and Boya: Shark and Crocodile, according the ancient legend about the fight between mythic animals that gave the name) is the second largest city of Indonesia, well known as the hube for the Eastern part of the archipelago, for the moderate and tolerant Islamic tradition, many quality universities and growing industry.

Before the Salesians arrived in 2009 to Surabaya, the ITM provincial Fr. Andres Calleja at that time asked Bishop Vincentius Sutikorno Wisaksono to assign us to the parish, where 'nobody likes to go' and we landed in St. Mikael Parish of Tanjung (naval base and sea port area). At the end of the first decade thanks to the committed work of the first Salesians we see a vibrant Bosconian Youth of the St. Mikael parish (900+ Catholics, parish priest - Fr. Noel Villafuerte), Catholic Junior High School of St. Mikael (principal Fr. Ferdinand population grew from 57 to the actual number of 120 students in spite of the fierce competition of nearby government and Muslim schools. Another development is the almost finished building of the new boarding house (capacity of 30 students) located at the side of the parish compound. We plan to welcome the first boarders next August 2018.

During the recent extraordinary visitation we were joined by the Blitar community with our Delegate for Indonesia, Fr. Lino Belo and spent energizing time with our parish youth, with our High school teachers and students. The EAO regional councilor Fr. Klement, accompanied by Fr. Lino and Fr. Noel also visited the Surabaya bishop and the Catholic University campus with Faculty of Philosophy. Bishop Vincentius does appreciated very much our pastoral and education commitment in this parish of origin (St Mikael, Tanjung) and helps us in many ways to develop a vibrant Salesian presence in Surabaya.

At present our community of Surabay is composed of three confreres, two of us involve in the parish ministry and the quasi-parish school and one priest-student of agriculture from Timor Leste (Fr. David Sousa). And we are happy to accompany also our first vocations from St. Mikael - one prenovice in Sumba (Richard) and one philosophy student, seminarian in the Surabaya (Dodo).

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