Indonesian Province (IN) has been fostering the on-going formation programs in several levels; starting from the local to the continental meetings. The gathering for the newly ordained Dehonians, regularly held once a year, has been an effort to equip the young priests with fresh approach regarding present issues. This year, IN province choose the theme “Leadership of the Good Shepherd.” The talks are delivered by Fr. Yohanes Rasul Susanto – psychologist graduated from Gregoriana University – and Fr. Petrus Santoso SCJ – specialized in formation from ICLA (Institute Consecrated Life for Asia), Philippines.
Starting with the psychological framework, Fr. Susanto invites the 13 participants to clearly recognize the emotions and basic needs within ourselves that may be dissonant with our religious vocation. “Before claiming ourselves as a Church’s leader, we need to develop a basic capacity enabling us to lead our basic psychological needs into the values of our Dehonian life-style. It is impossible to lead the People of God without managing and being aware of our central needs,” Fr. Susanto says.
Fr. Santoso then describes the types of leadership and contextual steps to start our own idea of leadership. He says that there are a lot of studies and technics on leadership, yet we – as Priests of the Sacred Heart – have to find our own dream and idea on leadership. Fr. Santoso says: “A strong image given in the Bible about being a leader is the term ‘Good Shepherd’. Exploration of this image of Good Shepherd will give us a balanced point and prevent us not only from over-controlling but also – at the other side – from being too weak in decision making.”
Fr. Indri Iriyanto SCJ (34), serving as a parish priest in Southern Sumatra, shares his insight: “It is not always easy for me standing up before the people. This meeting help me reminding myself that the best part of being leader in my parish doesn’t mean telling people to do this and that… No! Being a priest in a parish means being Christ’s instrument to love, to help, to cure and to walk together in compassion with His people.”
We believe that a solid and good leadership will help the Congregation in various forms of ministry to take real action not only for the Church but also for our country. Indonesia is now facing several big issues; from the rapidly growing intolerance of Muslims extremists towards the Church and the smoke of forest-burning that nowadays concerns the international community. In the local level, Dehonians of IN Province are still struggling in responding to those disputes. We do hope that this study-week program for the young Dehonian priests of IN Province will help them to contribute positive impacts for the society as Fr. Dehon dreamed of.