Dari Altar Sampai Pasar’: The Role of Christian Migrants to Improve Catholic Church Parochial in Moslem Majority Area

Author: Maria Dona Dewi Puspitaningrum (Social Communication Division – St. Odilia Catholic Church Parochial)
Speaker: Maria Dona Dewi Puspitaningrum
Topic: Language, community, ethnicity
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


This paper describes how the internal migration of Christians are improved and implicated in Catholic Church Parochial which is located in Moslem majority area. Using qualitative methods of interviews and participant observation, I centre migrant narratives in my analysis. This analysis using some missionaries historical literature of OSC (Ordo Salib Suci/Ordo Sanctae Crucis) to give us the actual context of emerging Catholic Church Parochial in Bandung-West Java (Indonesia). The St. Odilia- Catholic Church Parochial for field research offers unique data. As the biggest Catholic Parochial population in Bandung (+/-10 thousand inhabitants) and the 3 (three) oldest Catholic Church in Bandung, this Catholic Church is located in the land of emerging Indonesian Moslem power and radical Moslem groups as well since 1524.

In spite of the fact that the parochial located in Moslem majority habitant, there are some aspects affecting parochial transformation process, i.e.: First, the aspect of pastoral approach, structure and work that leads to inward-outward orientation. In order to undertake a far-reaching urban evangelization and strengthening grassroots participation, the parochial area devided into several smaller areas which are called ‘Wilayah’ and ‘Lingkungan’. The smaller pastoral parochial area has stimulating Catholic community to make the process of inculturation easier and going naturally. The public spaces –i.e: schools, hospitals, credit union— and collaborative campaign at local level are creating to maintain interfaith dialogue in daily life, thereby increasing understanding, respect and appreciation of values to each other. Second, the aspect of network-driven migration flows in response to changing economic and social-political circumstances. People migrate for many different reasons. Some reasons are association with gender roles, kinship and friendship. The other reasons are more about job opportunity or public education and health facility; particularly for Catholic’s school.

Moving beyond historical trajectory of St. Odilia- Catholic Church Parochial (1937-2017), this paper provides a historically to contemporary portrait of what actually goes in to being a Catholic socio-religious community in a Moslem majority area within the context of internal migration. It argues for the importance of addressing this issue, and traces the internal migration trajectory, from the pre-departure decision to migrate, and the choice of habitation, to the challenges of Catholic’s community –as minority—living in Bandung.

Keywords: Internal Migration, Inculturation, Evangelization, Catholic, Church, Pastoral, Parochial, Minority