Catholic seminary hosting displaced Muslims holds Islamic feast

November 19, 2010

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia – A Catholic seminary used as a shelter for people escaping Mount Merapi volcanic eruptions hosted hundreds of Muslim victims at a celebration of the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha.

After attending prayers at a nearby mosque Nov. 17, Muslims butchered 13 goats in the backyard of the seminary to mark the Muslim feast, which commemorates Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son, Isaac.

Women then cooked the meat according to a local recipe and shared it with others.

St. Paul Major Seminary has sheltered the Muslims since the Oct. 26 eruption.

Father Dominikus Sukristiyono, a priest from the seminary who is in charge of helping those made homeless by the volcano, said that 1,000 people arrived at the seminary in the first days after the eruption. The number has dwindled to 700.

Caritas Indonesia donated three goats for the feast, while a seminary committee donated another four.

“We just wanted the victims who stay here to be able to celebrate Eid al-Adha,” Father Sukristiyono said.

A man identified only as Turyono, 55, a Muslim, said he was happy to celebrate the feast at the evacuation center. He said he was even happier because the seminary also provided a special prayer room for the refugees.

Mount Merapi, which has erupted several times since late October, has killed 275 people, injured thousands and forced more than 300,000 people to evacuate.