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Prayers for bomb victims

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Piliana Taslim. Photo: Patrick J Lee

A Sydney woman is grieving the loss of her aunt while her cousin fights for his life following this month’s bombing of their church in a terror attack in Indonesia.

Piliana Taslim said she is still coming to terms with the horror, but felt comforted by a Mass she attended in Sydney to pray for peace in her former country.

“My auntie had a beautiful soul and she was there because she wanted to serve the Lord,” the member of the Catholic Indonesian Community (CIC) told The Catholic Weekly.

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“My cousin Agus is still in hospital under an induced coma.

“I feel sad for the loss of my relative and I cannot comprehend the reasoning of the people who were capable of such destruction.

Catholics gathered to pray for the victims. Photo: Patrick J Lee

“But I have not heard words of condemnation, only the graciousness of people offering their prayers for the victims and their families as well as the perpetrators.

“May God have mercy on their souls and give us the strength to comfort each other with love and grace.”

Tee Suk Cien, 64, died when the Arjuna Pentecostal Church she belonged to was bombed along with two churches, one Catholic, in Surabaya on May 13.

The attacks were carried out by Dita Oepriarto, 46, his wife Puji Kuswati, 42, with their two daughters aged 12 and 8, and sons 18 and 16.

The brothers were responsible for attacking the Santa Maria Catholic Church.

Catholics from across greater Sydney gathered at of Our Lady of the Rosary, Kensington, to pray for the victims of these and other deadly attacks in Indonesia in recent weeks.

Agustinus Alimhamzah and Dewi Suryani. Photo Patrick J Lee

The Mass was “deeply moving” and a collection was taken up to support injured victims and affected families, said parish priest Fr Aloysius Lamere msc.

Kensington couple Dewi Suryani and Agustinus Alimhamzah have family and friends living in Surabaya who now fear doing their normal everyday things like going to the shopping malls or to church.

“Everybody feels insecure there, and in Jakarta also,” said Mrs Suryani.

She was inspired by news that the family of Aloysius Bayu Rendra Wardhana, a young father who died while preventing the bombers from entering the church, say they have forgiven his killers.

“It was so touching to hear that. He is one of the Church’s unknown martyrs and his family are basically putting into practice what we see in the Bible.” she said.

“It’s inspiring especially in our days when the world is so broken, that there is always something good that comes out of even something so evil and painful as this.

Photo: Patrick J Lee

Indonesian chaplain Fr Petrus Suroto MSC, who concelebrated the Mass, said that a number of recent terrorist attacks by parents using their own children were “unimaginable” and caused great pain within Sydney’s Indonesian community.

“But we have to combat the terrorist agenda in the spirit of love,” he said.

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