A new church built in West Papua brings hope to communities
Archbishop Pietro Pioppo said "May the new church dedicated to Saint Joseph be the temple of a community from which peace and reconciliation radiate in Papua"
During the Inauguration Eucharist of the new Catholic Church of Saint Joseph in the village of Ayawasi, in the Diocese of Manokwari-Sorong, the Archbishop said: “We hope it will maintain and encourage the evangelical spirit of the community, the spirit of prayer and charity. We ask the Lord to encourage us to always go forward, in times of difficulty, by considering ourselves and always treating each other as brothers. The presence of a new church, inaugurated after nine years of planning and construction will be able to inspire local people to further deepen their faith and spirituality, to live with love and humility in their relationship with their neighbour: thus promoting reconciliation and peace on the land of Papua”.
All five bishops of the region attended the event, along with many priests, nuns and hundreds of congregants. The new church was built on an area of one hectare, measures 28×42 meters, is 28 meters high, and can accommodate up to 1200 people.
The construction process was long and came across several impediments, however, thanks to community support it did not get interrupted. Numerous organizations contributed to the funds, including private and public donors. 75% was donated by the congregation and believers.
The diocese of Manokwari-Sorong is located in the province of west Papua. The majority of people are Christians. But since the area was taken over by the Indonesian government in 1963, there have been reports of persecution against Christians. Indonesia overall has a majority Muslim population.