We have a responsibility to take care of it and develop the spirit of love for the country and a caring character for others in our respective fields of duty
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas on Monday directly handed Rp1 billion in aid for the Jakarta Cathedral under the Jakarta Archdiocese to Jakarta Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo.

“Today, I handed over assistance to the Jakarta Cathedral. This assistance comes from the budget of the ministry's Directorate General of Catholic Community Guidance," Qoumas informed at the Jakarta Cathedral on Monday.

The Jakarta Cathedral is listed as a cultural heritage building. Therefore, the minister said he hopes that the assistance will be used to increase the comfort of worshippers while maintaining the building’s aesthetics and interiors.

"Assistance has been provided for the purpose of procuring sound and visual equipment without damaging interior construction, according to the needs. This is expected to have an impact on the comfort and solemnity of the people," he expounded.

The ministry has five work units for providing guidance to the community in religious matters, namely the Directorate Generals of Islamic Guidance, Catholic Guidance, Christian Guidance, Hindu Guidance, and Buddhist Guidance, he said.

In addition, the ministry also has a Confucian Religious Education and Guidance Center. Each of these work units has a house of worship assistance program, which covers mosques, churches, monasteries, temples, and pagodas.

“The process for disbursing assistance to the Catholic Church or other religious places of worship must be easy. The requirements and procedures for submitting it must also be clear to accommodate the community as well,” Qoumas said.

Meanwhile, the Head of the cathedral, Father Hani Rudi Hartoko, promised to use the aid as needed. According to him, the Cathedral Church still needs lighting in accordance with the characteristics of the European neo-Gothic interiors of the church.

"Sound and visual equipment to be purchased has been selected in terms of quality and non-destructive installation," he said.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Suharyo said that the Jakarta Cathedral has continued to improve by revitalizing its interiors and exteriors. Apart from being a place of worship, the church is also serving as a tourist attraction for the public.

The church is not only a place for the spiritual development of the people, but is also playing a role in promoting solidarity among the community, he added.

"We have a responsibility to take care of it and develop the spirit of love for the country and a caring character for others in our respective fields of duty," he remarked.

The Jakarta Cathedral was built in 1891 and inaugurated on April 21, 1901, as the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Heaven. The church is connected to Istiqlal Mosque through the Silaturahmi Tunnel.

The underground tunnel, which was inaugurated on September 21, 2021, is connected to the parking area of the Istiqlal Mosque, which can accommodate 500 cars. Therefore, it is hoped that the two houses of worship will use the parking lot together, especially during religious commemorations.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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