A Journey of Faith and Friendship: My Time with KKMK Arnoldus Bekasi
In the fast-paced world of today, where technology connects us across oceans and cultures, it’s often the simple moments of connection that remind us of the beauty of human relationships. As I gazed at the screen displaying photographs of my friends from KKMK in Puncak, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of longing. “I wish I were there,” a British friend of mine remarked, his voice laced with envy. “Why?” I inquired, curious about the source of his yearning. His response, “They are young… I wish we had many of them here,” struck a chord deep within me. For after months spent working in a parish in Bristol, England, the absence of youthful exuberance had left me with a profound sense of “loss.”
It is with gratitude in my heart that I reflect on the time I spent assisting at Arnoldus Bekasi Parish in 2004, an experience that brought me in close contact with the vibrant members of KKMK Arnoldus Bekasi.
Three in One: Prayer, Charity, and Recreation
My immersion into the world of KKMK began during the Valentine’s celebration in Nisita, Puncak. What unfolded before my eyes during this event was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Here, I met KKMK friends who seamlessly blended the sacred and the secular, engaging in prayer and reflection, acts of charity like contributing to orphans, and wholesome outdoor activities such as leisurely strolls through tea gardens. The concept of “three in one” activities captured my heart. These multifaceted endeavors are, however, a rarity among the youth in the parish where I presently serve. We grapple with the challenge of limited youth involvement in church-related activities, and among those who do participate, a sense of despondency often overshadows their enthusiasm. Many of the young souls I encounter are devout, yet their piety takes on an austere and fanatical form, where they seem to shun the world around them. In their view, joy and happiness are the exclusive domains of God, and they lead lives marked by an excessive degree of self-denial, closing themselves off from the rich tapestry of social existence.
Community Engagement and Church Service
This contrast is vividly illuminated by the dedication and willingness of KKMK friends to actively engage in social service endeavors. From the distribution of used clothing to the provision of free healthcare in collaboration with SSP, they embrace these acts with open hearts and open hands. Such selflessness evokes memories of my time in Ireland, where young individuals willingly volunteered for a myriad of social causes. What sets KKMK friends apart is their unwavering commitment to “church service.” Unlike my experiences in Ireland, where young people often concentrated on social activities beyond the confines of the church, KKMK friends firmly root their actions within the ecclesiastical context and the mission of spreading the good news. Many among them are dedicated participants in local church activities, contributing to church choirs and partaking in liturgical events. This level of commitment is indeed a rare find in Ireland and England.
Leadership and Service
The dearth of youthful participation in my present workplace can be attributed, in part, to past lapses in nurturing the younger generation. In my Bristol parish, young individuals are a scarce commodity. There exists a youth group called Youth2000, but its leadership has remained unchanged since its inception several years ago. The situation stands in stark contrast to my experience with KKMK friends at Arnoldus Bekasi. The regeneration system is indeed alive and well among them. A lecturer in leadership at All Hallows College in Dublin once told us that the vitality of an organization can be gauged by the efficiency of its regeneration process.
KKMK Arnoldus Bekasi has cultivated a flourishing regeneration system, largely due to the awareness and understanding among leaders, organizers, and members that holding leadership positions is a form of service. In this framework of service, leaders and organizers listen to the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of members, foster healthy relationships, and willingly participate in all activities, even the most menial tasks. This stands in stark contrast to the prevailing cultural norm where higher status is synonymous with detachment from humble tasks.
Network of Friends
Looking ahead, whether we willingly embrace it or not, KKMK leaders, organizers, and members must cultivate a “network of friends.” This network, perhaps unconsciously, thrived within KKMK friends at Arnoldus Bekasi. My own experiences as a participant in various activities with KKMK friends revealed an intricate web of connections between seniors and the current KKMK members. To further strengthen this network, we must improve communication with external groups such as SSP. Regular and efficient communication via email, websites, Yahoo groups, phone calls, brochures, and various other means of disseminating information can solidify the KKMK community. Consistent interactions and meetings with KKMK groups elsewhere, facilitated by shared activities and communication platforms, will undoubtedly fortify KKMK’s standing. KKMK Arnoldus Bekasi is not an isolated entity but a crucial part of a broader network of KKMK groups across different parishes in Indonesia.
In closing, my hope for KKMK Arnoldus Bekasi is that you persist in spreading joy and youthful enthusiasm, in seeking spiritual reflection, in actively participating in social endeavors, in embracing leadership as a form of service, in maintaining a wide-ranging perspective, and in continuing to learn from the younger generation. As we take inspiration from the words of Euripides, “Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future,” may we embrace the knowledge and vitality of the youth, securing a future enriched by their energy.
Congratulations on celebrating your second Lustrum!
(Bristol, England, May 20, 2005)