The 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7) in Indonesia concluded on 6th August 2017 with the Closing Mass that was held at the Airforce Complex in Jogjakarta. The theme for AYD7 was “Joyful Asian Youth! Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia” and a week prior to that, thousands of young people from 20 Asian countries (Korea, Laos, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Macau, Timor Leste, Vietnam, Mongolia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, China, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Brunei and Cambodia) had gathered together with the young people of Indonesia for a spiritual and cultural experience that would not be forgotten.

Malaysia sent a contingent of about 100 delegates and 14 were from Miri Diocese. For the first part of the program which was the Days in the Diocese, the 14 were sent to the Archdiocese of Palembang.

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Malaysia delegates arrived at Palembang airport for Days in diocese.

From 30th July until 1st August, the delegates were assigned to host families that belonged to the many different parishes (namely, St Stefanus, St Mary Katedral, St Maria Ratu Rosario, St Francis De Sales, St Paul, St Yoseph, St Sacred Heart and St Petrus) in the Archdiocese. While there, we interacted with the local communities within our host family, host parish and the community at large, with exposures to the Catholic Church’s presence especially in healthcare and education, specifically the Charitas Hospital and the minor seminaries, schools and universities which were run by the Church. We also acquired the taste for “Pempek” (or “empek-empek”) which is a savoury fishcake delicacy from Palembang, made of fish and tapioca.

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Delegates from Miri diocese show their tradtional costume during JOYFUL gathering in Palembang

But it was during the 2nd part of AYD7 that saw all the delegates from the 20 Asian countries gather in Jogjakarta for the Asian Youth Day “proper” from 2nd August until 6th August 2017. This was the time when the delegates were truly exposed to the wonderfulness that is Indonesia, especially in terms of its multicultural and multireligious community. There were opportunities for inter-religious dialogue when young people of other faiths journeyed together with the delegates during the cultural exposures to Sant’Egidio School of Peace (in the squatter area), Mangunan Elementary School, Traditional Art Festival, St Peter Canisi Minor Seminary, Tunggal Hati Seminary and Pencak Silat, SAV Puskat (a Non-Profit Organisation owned by Catholics and run by Islams) and Inklusi Centre Bhakti Negeri Kachamatan Karanganom. A few of the delegates even had the opportunity to experience first-hand of how it was like to be a patient at Rumah Sakit Panti Rapih.


Miri diocese delegates in JOGJAKARTA

Overall, the delegates were all very much impressed by the multicultural diversity and religious tolerance and harmony in Indonesia. This was evident in the support given by the government to the AYD7 Coordinators to run the week-long program, be it in terms of accommodation, logistics and even healthcare. No expenses were spared to ensure that the delegates, especially those from outside the country, had a wonderful experience throughout. There is simply too much to be able to be shared in one simple article as such we would be more than joyful to share with you our experiences in person! Just simply ask away when you see us around, we would love to tell you more!

And, if you are interested to join the next AYD, keep your schedule open: the next Asian Youth Day will be in India in 2020!
– the AYD7 delegates from Miri Diocese.

Note: The above was a sharing on behalf of the delegates from Miri Diocese for the Diocese of Miri Facebook Page.

For more stories and photos, you can check out the albums below:

AYD7 Jogjakarta, Indonesia (Days in the Diocese in Palembang)

AYD7: Day 1

AYD7: Day 2

AYD7: Day 3

AYD7: Day 4

AYD7: Day 5 (Final Day)