ASIA/INDONESIA – The Rosary "for national unity", a prayer that unites Christians and Muslims
Jakarta – The Rosary, the Marian prayer par excellence, is today a support for national unity and inter-religious harmony in Indonesia. And it is a prayer also appreciated by Muslims, “especially because, as Indonesian Catholics, we have invented a special Rosary that symbolizes the unity of the nation, thanks to its two colors, white and red. This Rosary, which we prayed every day , incessantly, in October, reminds us to be 100% Catholic and 100% Indonesian. It is one of our expressions of love for our country and a sign of our concern and our desire to put the Pancasila continuously into practice”, says the Archbishop of Jakarta, Ignazio Suharyo, in a note sent to Fides.
The Archbishop participated recently in a meeting with the President of the “Asian Muslim Action Network” , prof. Azyumardi Azra, a well-known Muslim professor and former rector of the Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah in Jakarta and with Shafii Maarif, “noble father” of Indonesian Islam, founder of the Maarif Institute and former president of the Muhammadiyah Islamic organization. During the meeting, leaders recalled the “oath” of young Indonesians from different religions on 28 October 1928 who, in their youth congress, had proclaimed three ideals that would then lay the foundations for the nation’s independence: a homeland , a nation and only one language.
Then prof. Azyumardi took the Rosary with respect and veneration from Archbishop Suharyo and handed it over to Shafii Maarif. Suharyo described the meaning of the prayer, speaking of the colors, red and white, which recall the Indonesian flag. “White recalls holiness and sacredness, pure and sincere love towards God. Red symbolizes the will to defend, with love, truth based on faith”, said Archbishop Suharyo. The chain ends with the “medal of mercy” and the logo of the Archdiocese of Jakarta.
The Archdiocese inaugurated the special Rosary, prayed for the unity of the nation, in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption in Jakarta and donated to the 65 parishes of the city on May 1, 2016. Since then, the Catholics of the capital pray with the red and white Rosary every day during the Mass in the months of May and October. And, in this historic moment, marked by the rise of radical Islamic movements that intend to divide the nation, prayer has an even deeper meaning. The Church of Jakarta has recommended every Catholic family, associations and communities to pray with that Rosary, for the special intention of national unity. The Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese, that promoted and launched the initiative, states that the Rosary expresses the commitment of the Archdiocese to strengthen the love of the nation among the faithful and their sincere contribution to unity and social and religious harmony.