Looking to the future

The presence of the Pious Schools in Indonesia and East Timor is called to develop, counting with the native vocations of both countries and with the support of older religious from other places, as there are some of them today (from the Philippines and Spain), as well as with the support of the Province of Bethany and with the support and presence of members of the Fraternity of Bethany Province.

As in so many places, here we have important educational challenges, in addition to those of the school of Catholic identity, such as being in underdeveloped areas in structures and educational quality. There are abundant of children – also vocations, for now – but we need not only workers, but to tune well the discernment of places and modes of presence.

We are clear that the most beautiful work we can do as escolapio is to create community: a religious community that expands itself into the Pious Schools-christian community, also to create educational community, human community, around the communion in which we are called to grow and through our ministry and our relationships, particularly, to make our students feel in community. The Lord’s presence among us is the guarantee of our mission.

Among the prospects for the future is the creation of a Provincial Vicariate for Indonesia and East Timor, dependent on the Province of Bethany, as it was approved in the last Provincial Chapter to study this possibility. To do this, we are already having meetings that allow us to grow in unity among ourselves, recognize challenges, share vision and criteria.

We also think that it is important that the formation houses have some Pious Schools’ mission close to, in this regard, we consider it important to open ourselves up to a Pious Schools’ mission in Yogyakarta that would enrich our presence and our formation.

The foundation in Dili (East Timor) is taking its steps: we already have an oral permission from the Archbishop of Dili to be able to continue working with our candidates while in the city and we hope to be able to have a ministerial service destination soon. At the moment we are looking for places, accompanying these candidates and learning the languages (Portuguese and Tetun).

Sustainability is an important criterion of our presences, and this includes the vocational aspect, but also the economic one. It is clear that our presence cannot sustain itself in terms of formation houses, by cost and number, despite their austerity, and even the search for resources (temporary work of young people on holiday, foreign aid…). But our educational works must be able to function without the help of the Province, at least without sustained help. To do this we are taking steps, such as having greater local contribution, producing some food ourselves and the valuable support of the Itaka-Escolapios Foundation. In the face of new works of reference, this criterion we consider that it should be seriously considered.

Other places of the future? It’s too early to tell you… one could think of the Belu or Malaka area in West Timor, given the need for educational support and to strengthen our presence; also in Kalimantan, an area in need that has a vision to develop and which would allow us to close to Malaysia, where the Order wants to advance a new presence; Finally, West Papua (currently under Indonesian control) is another area in need where we already have contact.

However, perhaps the most beautiful challenge is to create the Calasanz Movement and grow in lay collaborators, creating the Pious Schools Christian community from now on.