The first months of acclimatization in the Province of Ende in eastern Flores passed quickly. During this time, I was able to meet with great missionaries who have worked here for more then 50 years. First in the hospital in Surabaya I met with fathers Stanisław Pikor and Włodzimierz Gorgon. Then I visited father Tadeusz Gruca who lives in a retreat house in Riung, and together with him we went to father Czesław Osiecki who lives in "Taman Kerahiman", the place of the Divine Mercy. At present, Fr. Włodzimierz Gorgoń is staying in the house for the sick and elderly confreres, not far from the seminary in Ledalero. With him I had the opportunity to experience my first Christmas in Indonesia.
Wherever I go, people and confreres still remember the Polish Missionaries who offered their whole life and heart for the people in Indonesia. When I meet these experienced missionaries, I see in them a cordiality and a great love towards the Indonesians. Watching the people who surround them and care about their health and physical condition, I am convinced that it is worth to devote oneself to the missionary work. I received the grace of a missionary vocation from God and therefore I can also fulfill the eternal plan of salvation for people in a distant country and with a different culture. It is God the Father who guides our lives and leads us along such paths that are best and most suitable for us. By speaking and listening to the older confreres from the Society of Divine Word, I am learning humbleness, patience and at the same time how to offer my suffering for others.
The Province of Ende is similar to the Polish Province of SVD, because the majority are fathers and brothers are Indonesians. The provincial office is located in the city of Ende, in the central part of the island, where the current Father General Budi Kleden comes from. Larantuka, Ende and Ledalero (near Maumere) are major SVD centers here. In each of these houses, almost 100% of residents are Indonesians. There are many young middle-aged fathers and brothers in the seminary, so it's easy to communicate with them. We usually talk in Indonesian, but sometimes we help ourselves with English or Italian, because many of professors studied in Europe. You can still feel the youth and vitality of the Church. Each parish and formation houses are vibrant with life, and young people want to join religious life. If parents have a child who decides to become a consecrated person, it is a great honor and joy for the family.
Every priest and religious person is respected here, and young people and children always ask for a sign of blessing, taking the priest's hand and touch it with their forehead. Although only one holy mass is celebrated in churches on Sunday, it is possible to feel the commitment of young people and the willingness to meet with the Eucharistic Jesus. The choir's singing, a glimmer of joy in the eyes of children, a smile on the faces of older women and men are a reward for a missionary vocation. Together with the SVD fathers, I wish all the best for Christmas and New Year 2019. May the love of the Incarnate Word continue to inflame our hearts to a more fruitful work for the good of Church.
Prayers of SVD
May the darkness of sin
and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word
and the Spirit of grace
and may the Heart of Jesus live
in the hearts of all people.
(Saint Arnold Janssen)