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By P. John Laba, SDB

Jakarta, Indonesia, 15 February 2024 -- Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago, with 17,001 islands. Six of them are large islands, namely Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Timor, and Papua. There are only 6,000 inhabited islands, and they are inhabited by about 279 million people. In this large and pluralistic archipelago, Salesians serve young people of different ethnicities, races, religions, and cultures in six communities and two Salesian presences.

On February 14, 2024, Indonesia held general elections to elect a president and his deputy, as well as members of parliament. Twenty-four political parties were participating in the elections. Moments like this are very important for Salesians, like the sons of Don Bosco, to show themselves as upright citizens and good Christians. The principle held by the Indonesian Salesians is One Hundred Percent Salesian, One Hundred Percent Indonesia. Therefore, the early morning rain did not dampen the spirit of the Indonesian Salesians to participate in this general election.

Fr. Andrew Wong, the Provincial Superior of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Indonesia, in his circular letter, invited the Indonesian Salesians: "Let us pray every day for the preparation of this election to be honest, fair, and peaceful. Let us pray that we can learn to distinguish between facts and hoaxes. What else can we do besides this important element of prayer as a local community and as a provincial community? The social awareness, responsibility, and actions that we can take are, of course, part of our service to the Church in Indonesia and, of course, in accordance with the teachings of the Church and the Gospel. May we be open to the Holy Spirit, who guides and inspires us regarding the contributions we can make for the good of our society and especially the youth of Indonesia."

Indonesian Salesians are also reminded as educators to educate young people in our setting to participate in these general elections. It is worth noting that the young people of the millennial generation, generations X and Z, who participated in the general election amounted to approximately 171.11 million people. Some of them are being educated in Salesian educational institutions and the faithful that are served.

Of course, after the elections, there will be many disagreements and turmoil in society. There are winners and losers. The winning side is often perceived to have committed fraud by the losing side. Such a situation can disrupt Salesian work and ministry with the youth. We pray that there will be no turmoil that can disrupt the nation and state of Indonesia, especially the Salesians, in serving young people to become good citizens and good Christians.


 

 

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