The Catholics of East Kalimantan (Indonesia) are proud of their new cathedral. Inaugurated on April 30, 2019, the place of worship, whose architecture mixes Gothic and Dayak inspirations, can accommodate more that 4,000 faithful.
The consecration of the new cathedral, placed under the patronage of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio in Indonesia, Bishop Piero Pioppo, in the presence of the governor of East Kalimantan, Isran Noor.
“The Catholic mission has been with the Dayak people for 114 years, which is why this cathedral has been built in their honor,” says the new rector, Fr. Meses Komela Avan who hopes “that the new cathedral will elevate the faith of the faithful and encourage them to come to Mass.”
A new cathedral had become necessary because of the growth of the Catholic community. The original structure, built in 1953, could accommodate only 800 people, while the parish includes, in 2019, about 7,000 faithful.
The construction of Our Lady of Perpetual Help began in July 2017, for a total cost of about 3.7 million euros, “paid by the province and the diocese,” as Fr. Komela clarified. The Archdiocese of Samarinda, in whose territory the new cathedral stands, was established on January 21, 1961. It now includes 116,000 Catholics in 25 parishes. In this Indonesian province, Catholicism represents less than 4% of the local population, compared to 3% nationally, according to the 2010 census.