In order to pay tribute to Austrian-born Fr Y B Prenthaler, a Jesuit missionary who contributed to the spread of Catholicism in central Java in the early 1900s, the Diocesan Commission for Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Semarang produced a 110 minutes documentary film titled Pedibus Apostolorum (The Walking Apostle).
Centred on a man
who was a living witness to the Gospel, which he brought to local communities by
walking for miles in the mountainous areas of Bukit Menoreh, the docu-film was
shot in Indonesian with English subtitles, and has already caught the attention
of many Catholics.
of its pre-Christmas schedule, MetroTV
will broadcast the documentary next weekend nation-wide.
with Fr van Lith, a Dutch Jesuit who played a leading role in the mission of evangelisation
in Sendangsono (Java) in the early 1900s, Fr Prenthaler bore witness to the Gospel for 26 years, contributing to the
spread of Christianity in the mountainous areas of Central Java.
out his first mission in Boro and then Sendangsono, five km away, replacing Fr Van Lith when
the latter was called to lead a Catholic school in Muntilan.
Indonesians, Boro and Sendangsono are the cradle of Christianity,
here to the rest of Central Java province. Indeed, to this day, most
priests, nuns and religious who bear witnesses to the Gospel across the
Indonesian archipelago come from here.
appreciated by Indonesian Catholics, the docu-film on Fr Prenthaler is the
brainchild of Fr Noegroho Agoeng PR, head of the Diocesan Commission for Social
Communications in Semarang, who edited and produced it.
clergyman, the whole process was "an experience of faith" made possible
thanks to funding from Catholics in Boron and Sendangsono. "We handled all
the material used in the making of the film," he explained, "including the historical
research, documentary photos, production and editing."
goal was to boost enthusiasm among Catholics in the Archdiocese of Semarang,"
the priest added, "so that they could nurture the spirit of the apostolate
through modern media."
Fr Prenthaler, he noted, was a good idea because he "was a prominent figure
in Boro Parish" where he performed "an outstanding service for 26
years, which many of us today might forget."
was made possible by the cooperation of 133 faithful and a 70-member crew, "who
all worked with joy and serenity."
was a great example of Christian witness among the natives, a role model who was
able to pass on "material and spiritual prosperity to the people."
Austrian missionary managed to organise a famous place of pilgrimage in
Sendagsono, where a small Marian grotto was built in 1904, and replica of the more
famous one in Lourdes. He died in 1946 and was buried at Boro.
is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Catholics are a small minority
of about seven million, or 3 per cent of the population. In the Archdiocese of
Jakarta, the faithful represent 3.6 per cent of the population.
the country's constitution recognises religious freedom, Catholics have been the
victims of violence and abuse, especially in areas where extremist visions of
Islam are entrenched, like Aceh.
Catholics are an active component in society and have contributed to the
nation's development as well as to emergency operations when they arise, as was
the case in last January's devastating