Native Papuan Ordained as Bishop of Jayapura for the First Time in History

Source: iNews TV/Edy Siswanto

JAYAPURA – For the first time in the history of the Diocese of Jayapura, a native Papuan from the Mee tribe was ordained Bishop at Kristus Raya Cathedral in Jayapura on Thursday (2/2/2023). Monsignor Yanuarius Theofilus Matopai You was ordained as Bishop of Jayapura by the Vatican Ambassador to Indonesia, Monsignor Piero Pioppo. In the 128 year-history of the Catholic Church in Papua, this marks the first time Pope Francis has appointed an indigenous Papuan (OAP) as Bishop. Cardinal Monsignor Ignatius Suharyo and 33 Bishops from various regions in Indonesia were also present at this historic event.

As the Bishop of Jayapura, Monsignor Yanuarius Theofilus Matopai You will carry out three visions and missions during his duties. These include maintaining unity between Catholic priests throughout Papua, synergising with the government, Army and Police in maintaining security and peace in Papua, including synergising with people of other religions and the third is to create a church with cultural characteristics.

Acting Director General of Catholic Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, AM Adiyarto Sumadjono, who was also present representing the Minister of Religion, congratulated and expressed various hopes for the duties to be carried out by the new Bishop. “On behalf of the government, we congratulate and hope that as the new shepherd of the people, and first native Papuan to serve as Bishop, he can take the aspirations of the people and provide the best solutions for Catholics in particular,” said AM Adiyarto Sumadjono. He also hopes that collaboration with the Diocese for the development of Papua towards a better course can be established. Bishop Monsignor Yanuarius Theofilus Matopai You as a native Papuan Bishop and is considered well-suited for the task.

“Because he is a native son, of course he understands the local dynamics, aspirations and local wisdom of the community, so that he can provide the right solutions. Of course, the result is the acceleration of the dynamics of development and prevent the unwanted, because he understands his community better,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the PGGP (Papuan Churches Fellowship) Rev. Heskia Rollo said he was happy with the inauguration of the new Bishop from Papua. “We are very happy for the new Bishop, especially because he is Papuan, so as a Bishop he is not only for Catholics, but all Papuans. We at PGGP and 58 Synods give thanks to God for this,” said Rev Heskia.

He admitted that both the Diocese of Jayapura and PGGP will work together to realise Papua, the Land of Peace. “We will work together, supporting each other for Papua, Land of Peace. And earlier he also expressed his commitment to it, as he said he would play an active role, both with the church and the security forces. For me this is an extraordinary attitude,” he concluded.

At the conclusion of the ordination procession, the Bishop was paraded to Mandala Stadium in Jayapura City. At this location, a banquet was held for thousands of people present at this location. Around 4,000 joint Army and Police personnel were deployed to secure the ordination procession and banquet at Mandala Stadium Jayapura.

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