Christmas services run well, Muslim students distribute flowers to Christians

Christmas services run well, Muslim students distribute flowers to Christians

Christians lit candles when following a Christmas Eve Mass at Immanuel Church, Jakarta, Saturday (Dec. 24, 2016). (ANTARA/Wahyu Putro A.)

This is a good example for other regions in Indonesia in maintaining religious harmony."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Bunches of flowers that 72 members of Muslim Students Association (HMI) distributed to church goers at the Christmas Eve in Jayapura, capital city of Papua Province, has highlighted an increase of brotherhood among the religious adherents in Indonesia.

According to Murdani, coordinator of HMI of the Jayapura chapter on Saturday, the HMI students gave around 2,000 bunches of roses wrapped in transparent plastic sheet to church goers at 12 churches before they came into the churches in the city.

At each bunch of flowers there is an inscription reading "The Jayapura chapter of wishes Marry Christmas, December 2016 may God bless".

Apart from handing over the flowers, the HMI members wearing T-shirts with HMI writing also helped manage traffic such as that at GKI Pengharapan Jayapura church.

In addition, members of the Hindu Dharma Youth Association (PHD) in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Provincial city of Kupang were also involved in the process of securing the Christmas celebration on December 25, 2016 in Kupang.

Regarding the celebration of Christmas in Kupang, the PHD youths of the Kupang city Hindu Dharma helped security forces secure the Christmas celebration activities in several major churches in the city.

The Christmas Eve mass at the Parish Church of St. Yoseph Naikoten taking place at 06.00 pm local time was attended by thousands of local Catholics.

As many as 15 persons of the Bali-based Hindu Dharma Youth Association wearing traditional Balinese dress also helped secure the Christmas celebration.

According to Manik Sugiarsa of the Hindu Dharma Youth Association, youths of this association have been two years involved in the organizing committee of the Christmas celebration in Kupang to support the security activities.

"We wish the Christmas celebration in Kupang runs peacefully as the youth of course we have moral responsibility to safeguard the situation of the Unitary State of Indonesia," Manik stressed.

In addition, Ms Novita Ngeneng, one of parishioners of St. Yoseph Naikoten II Kupang, appreciated the participation of the interfaith youth in Kupang in maintaining security activities of Christmas Eve Mass in several churches in this area.

"This is a good example for other regions in Indonesia in maintaining religious harmony. Harmonization of religious life should be started by the youths. Indonesia is very beautiful because of its diversity of ethnicity, religions and cultures. Potential of this diversity should be maintained," he pointed out.

Meanwhile, a number of Muslim residents of the Bonipoi village, in Kupang joined with the organizing committee of the Christmas celebration, police and military personnel to maintain security activities of the celebration of the Christmas Eve Mass at the Cathedral Church in Kupang.

In Jakarta, organizer of the Istiqlal grand mosque provided parking area for motorcycles and cars for the people who want to carry out mass on Christmas Eve in the cathedral church in Central Jakarta.

"Indeed, normally (Istiqlal) parking lot is used (for Christmas activity) every year to avoid traffic jams," said Dwi, one of the parking lot on-duty personnel here on Saturday night.

Former chairman of the Communion of Indonesian (protestant) Churches or PGI of Maluku Province Pdt. DR. John Ruhulesin when leading worship in preparation for Christmas stated that Christians are asked to use the momentum of Christmas as an important event to renew life and peace with other religious communities, forgive and share love with others in need.

"True Brotherhood is a relationship and a sense of belonging, respect and love each other, regardless of differences, without mutual suspicion and envy and jealousy," Pastor Jhon said.

In the meantime, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian expressed that differences in ethnicity, religion, race and class are unifying for the Indonesian nation.

He made the remarks when observing the implementation of Christmas Eve Mass at the Reformed Injili Indonesia church in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta on Saturday night.

"Since the proclamation (of Indonesian independence), we have proclaimed that all the differences are not breakers, but they even become the unifier for all of us," Tito disclosed.

He further said, the difference is the wealth for the whole of Indonesia, thus, (this) should be utilized as a means to unite the nation.

During the visit, Tito also conveyed Christmas greetings to the whole church worshipers in the church.

"Merry Christmas to all. May the love and peace can bless us all tonight. God bless," said Tito.

In addition to the Police Chief, the visit was also attended the Military chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, Interior Minister Tjahjo Kumolo and Jakarta Acting Governor Sumarsono.

Earlier on Thursday (Dec 22) General Tito Karnavian led a roll call ceremony on "Operation Candle 2016" for Christmas security measures, at the National Monument (Monas), here, Thursday.

"Operation Candle is a centralized and routine operation by the police to secure Christmas and New Year celebrations," the general said.

Some 150 thousand personnel have been deployed to guard Christmas and New Years Eve celebrations this year.

"The total number is some 150 thousand officers, comprising both police and military officers, as well as others from relevant institutions," he remarked.

Tito has cautioned the personnel to anticipate several public order disturbances, such as conventional crimes, religion-related conflicts, and possible acts of terrorism.

"Be vigilant as well (in monitoring) mass migrations from one place to another because its the holiday season. We have to be ready to secure public mobility so their journeys by land, air, and sea are safe and hassle-free," he added.

He reminded them to optimize security at public facilities, such as places of worship, terminals, stations, shopping malls, airports, and recreational spots.

Roads on the northern coast of Java, particularly Cipali, must also be secured.

He highlighted the synergy among relevant institutions in securing the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Operation Candle 2016 will be in effect for 10 days from December 23 to January 1.