Father Magung Fransis of the Verbite Order, says that missionary service is needed everywhere in the world, including Hungary. The parish priest sees the need to revive faith in our country while warning us not to forget that being a Christian is a great joy. During his 16 years of service in Hungary, he has become convinced that this mission is fruitful and that the Church can be strengthened, Magyar Nemzet writes.
The Indonesian priest, who speaks perfect Hungarian, is not serving here for the first time, as he spent twelve years in Budapest before the Verbites were given their own parishes. He had previously traveled Hungary as a missionary secretary, but he had already sought out Hungarian communities in the United States during his theological studies.
“With the Verbites, we represent the universal Church: by our very presence we open people’s eyes to the fact that we belong to one big family, the family of a billion Christians,” Father Magung said.
I had always wanted to serve in a post-communist country, so I indicated to my supervisor that Slovakia or Hungary might be an option. That is how I ended up here after my ordination as an American priest,”
he explained. He said that in the place of former communist regimes, re-evangelization has a huge role to play, as these turbulent historical times and enforced atheism have damaged people’s faith and the popular spirit.
He also recalled the life of his role model, Ferenc Mészáros, a Verbite missionary who served on the island of Flores for almost 37 years.
At first, the locals looked at us strangely, but now we are happy to see each other, they accept us, the Verbites. It is typical that the older people are in the majority, which is very different from our young Indonesian church,”
said the parish priest from Flores. Father Magung revealed that two Indonesian priests are being ordained in Hungary this year.
Christianity has been present in Hungary for a long time, which is why it has a long tradition of being linked to the Church. For me, the many feasts are very interesting. I would be very sorry if they disappeared. We have not yet developed similar traditions. People often ask me what we eat at Christmas and Easter in Indonesia, and I say: only what we have, we do not have traditional dishes like ham or fish soup. It would be nice if people did not think these are outdated,”
he said, also talking about young people. He said that after twelve years of service in the capital, it is good for him to work in the countryside, as Budapest is too international to give a true picture of the whole country. But it has made him realize that it is even more difficult to reach young people here. He recalled that in Budapest there were more programs for young people and more immersion, but in Vasvár and its surroundings, they were not yet open to it.
Young people come home from school or college on the weekends, and their weekend plans do not include church activities. Moreover, they seem to be very busy, with a lot to do. Nevertheless, I see it as an important task to bring them into the church, and it will take hard work and attractive church programs, and we are working on it,”
Magung Fransis said, adding that every historical period has its challenges. He thinks that “The impact of communism can certainly be felt in Hungary: the younger generation no longer has the faith to pass on. It is still very much present in grandparents, but it is absent in parents, so their children have nothing to pass on.”
“Wherever I am, I have to deal with what is there, to organize the place,” stressed the priest of the missionary order.
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