Written by Lettie Taberdo


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By Amalia Teresita B. Rosana, Ph.D

Each year, ICLA celebrates the cultural richness of each of the countries represented by the student population. The first this year, held on October 22, 2016, was hosted by the Indonesian and East Timorese students, composed of Religious sisters and priests and some lay people. 

It opened with a beautiful liturgy led by Fr. Kristian Cangkung, cmf as main presider and co-presiders were Fr. Jose Ximenes, SDB and Fr. Wanto, SCY. Indonesian religious sisters led the procession in their traditional liturgical dance that gave a glimpse of Indonesian religious culture. Another set of Indonesian sisters offered the gifts by way of another solemn dance at the Offertory procession. Fr. Jose Ximenes, SDB gave the homily on the theme, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity). Bro. Benad Simbolon, CMM, was the conductor of the choir made up of Indonesian students within and outside of ICLA. They sang Indonesian liturgical songs. 

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Indeed, it was an evening of cultural festivity without distracting from its solemnity. A feast of Indonesian food was spread out prepared by the students themselves and brought by some Indonesian guests. 

A cultural show followed the dinner with more Indonesian dances interpreting the theme, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika. To show the community spirit of ICLA students, the other countries (Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Laos, India, and the Philippines), all participated with glee delighting the guests and the rest of ICLA community such that they would clap in appreciation for every presentation.



By Fr. Ferdy Melo, cmf 

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Saturday, October 22, 2016 was a memorable day for the Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia (ICLA) Resident Community. In the light of the main theme, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (Unity in Diversity), Indonesian and East Timorese residents and some guests brought the whole community to a profound reflection on the beauty of living together in diversity in a solemn cultural Mass and cultural show hosted by these two countries. 

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Present at this cultural Mass as well as cultural night were Fr. Samuel H. Canilang, CMF, Director of the Institute, ICLA Staff and professors, guests, and all resident students from different countries: The Philippines, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, South Korea, Thailand, Laos, India, East Timor and Indonesia. In his remarks, Fr. Samuel H. Canilang, CMF, thanked the host countries for the solemn Eucharistic celebration and for bringing the community to experience different faces of Asian Churches and cultures.


That memorable night was really a night to experience the beauty of living in unity in diversity. And regarding this Thomas Berry- an American Eco-theologian once said, “Diversity is the magic. It is the first manifestation, the first beginning of the differentiation of a thing and of simple identity. The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection."  And we are here in this beautiful place telling the story as well as experiencing this profound perfection of living as brothers and sisters. To borrow what the psalmist said, “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” (Ps 133:1). Indeed, it is a blessing to live as brothers and sisters here at ICLA and at the same time share our multicultural richness among our fellow travelers.
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We, Indonesian and East Timorese through this cultural Mass and program want to tell as well as share with others our story of multiculturality, our story of diversity and yet inclusivity, that beyond the differences we face and live with in our respective countries: Indonesia with Pancasila (five principles) as its official philosophical foundation of the state with its motto: “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (Unity in Diversity) and East Timor, with its motto: “Unidade, Asaun, Progresu (Unity, Action, Progress), there is a common inner longing for unity. At the very heart of this multiculturality and diversity, there is an unquenchable thirst for unity and inclusivity. And we believe that the summit of unity and fraternity is when we acknowledge our fellow-travelers as brothers and sisters. At the heart of cultural diversity, there is a profound call of the Gospel to live in unity, as Paul insisted in his letter to the Ephesians, “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God” (Eph 2: 19). For those precious gifts we are here sharing those stories while offering to God these two countries: Indonesia and East Timor, and all of us the witnesses and messengers of unity and inclusivity of God’s Kingdom here at ICLA.