Indonesia – Christian leaders in Indonesia have issued a joint Christmas message calling on Catholics and Protestants in the country to cultivate compassion for people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This year’s Christmas celebration calls us to become brothers and sisters to those who are in trouble,” said a message issued by the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI) and the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI).
The message with the theme “Christ’s Love Prompts Fraternity” was signed by KWI chairman Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta and PGI chairman Reverend Gomar Gultom.
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Among the others who signed the four-page message were KWI secretary-general Holy Cross Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin of Bandung and PGI general secretary Reverend Jacklevyn Frits Manuputty.
The Christian leaders expressed gratitude to the government and private institutions for their efforts in dealing with the pandemic but said restoring the situation and tackling impacts of the pandemic on human life would need the spirit of fraternity among the society.
“This year’s Christmas celebration reminds us to love one another with all our hearts in a sincere fraternity through compassionate acts. The birth of Jesus Christ that we celebrate encourages us to find new creative ways to love one another, to proclaim justice, and to create true peace,” the message said.
Compassion and solidarity with those affected by the pandemic are really needed right now
The message called on Catholics and Protestants to spare some time for those in need, particularly people most affected by the pandemic.
Eveline WInarko, a Catholic laywoman from Holy Cross Parish in North Jakarta and coordinator of the Community of Sant’Egidio in Indonesia, said the Christian leaders’ call was timely.
“Compassion and solidarity with those affected by the pandemic are really needed right now. And what I can do is simple concrete acts, such as sharing meals with those in need and distributing basic necessities and face masks with them,” she told UCA News.
“Those are just small things. But small things can be a huge help to those in need.”
According to the World Bank, the pandemic and the containment measures are impacting Indonesian households through three broad channels, namely the income or employment channel which includes both labor and non-labor income, the price channel that may affect the affordability of essential commodities, and the long-term human capital channel.