Fr Charlie Burrows, an Irish priest serving in Chilachap on Java’s southern coast in Indonesia, is well known for cultivating good relations between Christians and Muslims in his local area. In his latest contribution to this blog, he describes an encounter when Muslim children visited his church after a Christian wedding ceremony, providing an example of how welcome and hospitality can produce opportunities for encounter and enjoyment.
Fr Charlie Burrows – Muslim Guests at a Christian Wedding
With all the negative attention being given to Islam because of the atrocities of I.S.I.L or Islamic State the efforts of continuous dialogue gets lost. So I share the following.
On Saturday last, June 13th, I got a phone call telling me that the children from a local Pesantren School were on the way to our church for a “study tour” to see what a Catholic church looked like and meet a Ccatholic priest and presumably see what he looked like.
As I had a wedding in the church 15 minutes later I explained this to the caller, but said come along anyway. The children came just as the wedding was finishing but as we have troops of monkeys in big cages behind the presbytery the children amused themselves studying the monkeys and vice – verse.
When they came back to the church I invited them in as the welding party were heading for the church veranda to release two white doves and lots of balloons. There are two balconies in the church and the children could enjoy the view.
The wedding group invited the children to hold the balloons for the releasing ceremony and the children enjoyed this.
We then organized a drink and biscuits after a photo with the “chief monkey.”
Inter action from an early age will help better relations in the future.