This year the Montfort Missionaries in Indonesia celebrates the 75th anniversary of their presence in the country (28 April 1939 – 28 April 2014). It is a yearlong celebration with the theme: “Wake Up, Pray and be Grateful”. The opening celebration was held on the 27-28 of April in Putussibau, the first parish erected by the Montfort Missionaries in 1939. The celebration was attended by the Superior General, Fr. Santio Brembilla, the Assistant General, Fr. Joseph Dwi Watun, the Bishop of Sintang, Most Reverend Agustinus Agus, two Dutch fathers, Fr. Wim Peeters, SMM and Fr. Nico Schneiders, SMM, the community superiors of the Indonesian Province, all Montfortians in Borneo, priests and religious from various congregations and lay people from various parishes around Putussibau.
On the 27th of April there was a presentation of the history of SMM in Indonesia through a beautiful drama performed by the youths in Putussibau. It was interesting to see how the missionaries struggled in the vast jungle of West Borneo. Therefore during his speech, Most Reverend Agustinus Agus emphasized that the young missionaries of today should imitate the missionary spirit of our confreres in the past in their service to the people. The Diocese of Sintang, he said, always needs the Montfortians. “Even if we already have sufficient priest to serve this diocese, the presence of SMM is still needed.” On his part, Fr. Santino expressed his gratitude for the participation of SMM Indonesia in the life of the Congregation and of the local Church. The Provincial Superior, Fr. Kasmir emphasized that the 75th anniversary is not a moment to make a feast but to work. He said, “We take this opportunity to reflect on our ministries, on how we can give our best services to the people, to strengthen our life by deepening our spirituality, and to open our minds and hearts to the needs of the Church.”
On 28 April 2014 we celebrated the feast of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort in a grand mass presided by Most Reverend Agustinus Agus, the Bishop of Sintang. Many priests from the diocese of Sintang and from various congregations joined the Montfort Fathers in the celebration. People from various tribes of West Borneo performed various dances which added more life and beauty to the celebration. During his homily the Bishop said, “The people nowadays need priests who are simple, ready to sacrifice and friendly”. At the end of the mass Fr. Kasmir explained why Putussibau was taken as the locus of our celebration. It is because Putussibau is the first parish opened by the Montfortians. As a sign of gratitude to the Dutch Missionaries they invited Fr. Nico Schneiders, SMM and Fr. Wim Peeters, SMM to receive the birthday cake and candle given by the young missionaries represented by Bro. Ricky SMM and Bro Idus SMM. The two senior missionaries gave the cake and the candle back to the young missionaries with a message that the missionaries have to continue their mission in giving cake (life) and candle (light) to the people.
After the opening celebration the Montfortians gathered in Deo Soli for the meeting of the Extraordinary Provincial Council. The Montfortians sat together for 4 days to evaluate their life and ministry. It was a good moment to reflect on their past, on their strengths and weaknesses and to see what they can do better for the future.