From April 14 to 20, 2005, a group of pilgrims from Djakarta (Indonesia) came to Medjugorje. Nuning Siregar, secretary of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and President of the Indonesian branch of the International Catholic Organisation of Women, and her husband Rivai Siregar; Albertus Mansyur Tampubolon, in charge of one of the four pastoral sectors of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Djakarta, and his wife Anxsugiarti Tampubolon; Teresa Singgih who is translating Our Lady’s messages and Bible studies into Indonesian language; Siska Tjanur, a social worker who is working among the poor and spreading knowledge of the Bible in the families. They came to pray for peace in their country.
Teresa Singgih came to Medjugorje for the first time in 1986. Since then, she is coming often, alone or with friends, always in private arrangement. In Indonesia, there are agencies that organise very expensive tours, on which Medjugorje is just a short segment of the journey. This is the first “real” pilgrimage on which Indonesians remain in Medjugorje for the entire week. Teresa is translating Our Lady’s messages and Bible studies into Indonesian language. Here, she has learned how to pray, especially the Rosary, which is introducing into the meditation of the entire life of Jesus. In her neighbourhood, she has introduced weekly prayer meetings – Tuesday’s Rosary, as well as Bible studies. She says that one cannot talk about Medjugorje – one has to experience it. This is why she brought her friends to Medjugorje. The Catholic Church in Indonesia is a minority; it represents only 4% of the population, which counts about 200 million of inhabitants. Catholics are spread all over the country, but the majority is in Djakarta. In the east of the country, there is persecution of Catholics in recent times. The Bishop of Djakarta declared: “It is better that they persecute us than that we persecute them. Persecution makes Catholics stronger.” Teresa thinks that some religious leaders want to provoke conflicts. When Catholics celebrate Christmas or Easter, they always invite their festivities their non-Catholic neighbours. Some do not like this, and they persuade Muslims not to respond to the invitations of the Catholics, “because they will baptise them”.
Nuning Siregar, secretary of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and President of the Indonesian branch of the International Catholic Organisation of Women, is surprised by Medjugorje. She can feel the nearness of Heaven and of Our Lady here. Mary is helping her to carry Jesus to others. She will speak in her country about the graces that one can receive here. The International Catholic Organisation of Women wants that women are not only good persons, but also that they help other to become good. It is working on protection of women from violence, from human slavery; it works on their education and alphabetisation, on the growth of life standard. Nuning is visiting towns and villages, Catholics and non-Catholics; she is working on the promotion of human person all over Indonesia. Rivai and Nuning Siregar have two children. Rivai is a businessman, both are very busy, but they feel that to be at the service of brothers and sisters in faith helps also their family life.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Djakarta has numerous parishioners, and it is divided in four pastoral sectors. One layman is in charge of each sector, a man chosen by the parish priest and the parish counsel. Albertus Mansyur Tampubolon is in charge of one of the four sectors of his parish. The parish is organised as a pyramid: On the top is the parish priest, under him the pastoral counsel, which is delegating four men for four pastoral sectors. Their duty is to visit the parishioners and spur them to live their faith through the sacraments and in their daily life, through family prayer groups. Mansur is a construction engineer and he is consecrating his free time to the family an to his parish duties. Mansyur and his wife Anxsugiarti have four children. Anxsugiarti thinks that – because of his service in the parish – her husband became a better husband. He was away from the Church for a long time, she was praying for him, and when he came back, he became very active. Mansyur thinks that the Providence helped him to come for this pilgrimage, because his professional obligations are leading him all over the world, and the family and parish duties hardly leave him any free time. This year, he celebrated his birthday in Medjugorje.
They all agree that it is very difficult to be a minority in a country like Indonesia, life is hard, but they keep repeating: “Let us not worry, God is helping us”. This is why they came to Medjugorje – to ask in a very special way God’s help and the intercession of the Queen of Peace.