1st Century Celebration of Martinus Parish: The Story of Bule Holland Build Martinus Church

Missionaries with the community during the service of the people. Photo: Collection from Cosmas Yan Kay.

Yanuarius Viodeogo

PONTIANAK – The presence of Dutch missionaries in Embaloh Hulu Subdistrict, 1 century ago became an important historical record in the development of Catholicism in West Kalimantan. After World War I and II, nuns instilled an educational and health spirit in the Banuaka tribe. How's their trail?Thursday morning, Rafael Sallan (77), addressed at Gg Rambai, Jeruju, Pontianak, told the story when Monsignur (Mgr) Tarcicius van Valenberg and Superior Caesarius Ram did turne (service of the people) to Banua Martinus. With them, five people pikul barang and a cook.

Feeling tired, take a break by the clear and fresh river. The river water is allowed to be drunk, because it has not been polluted.

Bathing is not to be missed. Others smoked Shag van Nelle's stamp tobacco, or The Widow's cigarette. Van Nelle means widow. The bule-bule also bathed in the receding river water by wearing cloth lilits (towels or nurses).

Fun bathing, the father of the bishop and superior unconscious, (sorry) his nurse drifted carried by the rapid river water. The group was surprised to see those who had large stocky bodies, not wearing a single strand of thread.

The above story becomes an unforgettable memory for the people of Martinus Parish, Embaloh Hulu Subdistrict, Kapuas Hulu Regency, along with the missionaries who spread Catholicism.

A century ago, on August 2, 1913, it was the day of the pledge of the Capuchin order in the Upper Embaloh stasi. It was later officially confirmed as the centre of Martinus Parish. Father Flavianus Huibers, OFM. Cap as the first pastor, assisted by Pastor Honoratus, OFM. Cap from Netherlands.

The Upper Embaloh, like Sallan, admired the tenacity of the missionaries who entered Upper Embaloh.The close relationship between the monks and the Embaloh community did not just happen. Monks also do not use weapons and violence embraces society.

Before 1889, based on the writings of Father Jeremiah Melis, OFM. Stamp in the document entitled 'Borneo Kalbar', the Dutch East Indies Government considers the need for the role of the Church in the perhuluan area. Because there are still often horizontal conflicts between tribes.

The dutch east indies companies realized that there was no point in them patrolling continuously, the way was to start the work in the Iban tribe, Batang Lupar, Lanjak.

In 1889 Mgr. Claessens, SJ, Apostolic Vicar of Batavia, asked permission to be allowed to open missions in kapuas hulu and bengkayang areas. There's a different view. In 1908, Mr. Kontrolir in Semitau requested a mission to open a stasi at Batang Lupar in the foothills of Lanjak.

So it opened in 1909 the Lanjak stasi with the first missionary, Pastor Gonsalvus, OFM. Cap and Father Ignatius, OFM. stamp.Unfortunately, the school in Lanjak cannot continue because the children are less interested in school.

In 1909 the Capuchin Missionaries began to look at Embaloh, and searched for children from the Dayak Embaloh tribe to attend school in Lanjak.Dayak Embaloh people even Temenggung Nandung bin Kasue (1904-1919), welcomed, and requested that churches and schools be built in Embaloh.

October 5, 1910 Prefect Pacifikus Bos, OFM. Cap expressed a desire to move, from Lanjak and open stasi, churches and schools in Embaloh. The decision must go through 'koombong' (customary deliberation).

"The final decision is taken from the opinion of most indigenous elders. A democratic life," rafael sallan said. Missionaries are interested in Embaloh because of the orderly living of indigenous peoples.

Another reason is because the education of schools in Lanjak is less developed. People stick to the custom, so that children often do not go to school, the reason is because of abstinence.At the decision of some indigenous parents, they met the pastor in Lanjak and conveyed the approval of the indigenous people of Embaloh to give Banua Banyu' (before becoming martinus' name) for the needs of the pastor.They took the priests to Lanjak. The name "Banua Martinus" was given as it was between Banua Karaam and Banua Ujung (Banuajung). 

Martinus, who gave 5,000 Guilders, was then to build churches, pastorals, and dormitories.

Then, November 9, 1913 opened Sekolah Rakyat (Volkschool) SR equivalent elementary school, 3 years, which is a subsidy from the Government of the Dutch East Indies. For those who want to continue their schooling to grade 4-6, they must attend Sejiram Sub-district. 

From there, the Parish of Saint Martinus was built in a large way.The Order of Sarikat Maria Montfortan (SMM) was requested to assist the school in Martinus.

On December 19, 1941 Pontianak city was bombed and fired from the air by the Japanese army. Borneo island was occupied by Nippon army. The missionaries were arrested. 

Including the missionaries, at 11:00 was taken away, put into a camp in Kuching, and Raphael Giling Laut, later the first Regent of Kapuas Hulu, kept the pastoral so as not to be looted by the Japanese army.

But that, shortly after, August 17, 1945 Sukutu's planes passed through the camp in Kuching spreading pamphlets containing the Surrendered Japanese. 

The captive pastors returned to Banua Martinus, such as Father Flavianus, Father Lambertus Van Kessel, Br. Bertrandus, Br. Alexius, Sr. Koleta, Sr. Theresa, Sr. Gerarda, Sr. Rosa and Sr. Dolorota, picked up by Temenggung Laetus Kasso in Nanga Embaloh by sampan.

Hearing the priests return, Embaloh Catholics were ordered by Temenggung Kassoh to pick up in Nanga Embaloh by paddling sampan."We cut the pastoral grass. Our dorm is second level, right in front of the football field. The field is wide, green and clean," recalled Sallan at that time 1st grade SR.

Another with prayers in the church. If it had been mass, the roofed and bark-walled church would have been full. Nearly 300 people came from various villages.

Catholic parish and school buildings and cemeteries have been moved three times, due to landslides, arson, and landslides again. The current chapel is the fourth about 900-1,000 meters across the land.

"Now even pastoral and churches have begun to be threatened by landslides. The river currents are so strong. The 25-meter long iron and wooden bridge was washed away by flooding," he said.He recalled, a monk named Brother Bertrand. The only eccentric brother. The owner of the horse was brought directly from the Netherlands, used to turne and build bridges. "This brother drove away the crocodiles in the river," Sallan recalled.

Sallan still remembers the memory of him and his classmates guided by Father Flavianus. Rising to 3rd grade, aged, father Flavianus grew older, and the pastor returned to the Netherlands. As the founder of Martinus Parish, Father Flavianus died 2 April 1971 at the age of 89.Sallan still remembers once, too, his friends in sr. "In 1946, 3rd grade, there were only 2 people, Vincensius Toman and Jalui. 2nd grade, Taon Nambun, B. Insek, Herman Insombin, Arwis. Grade 1, Mayam (Bukung village), R. Sallan, Thomas Botom, N. Utto, Banya (Kampung Benua Ujung), Paget and Anis, Takolang (Temao Village), Babet, L. Igang, Sanung, Thomas Antot, Tayot (Pinjawan Village). 

"At that time, sr in Martinus was only until the 3rd grade. Continuing to the 4th grade, I moved SR 6 years in Sejiram," said the former South Pontianak Sub-District Head and Lecturer of the Pontianak Academy of Internal Government (APDN).

A similar story also comes out of the words, Yan Kay when opening the memory of Embaloh Hulu ago, still the wilderness is interrupted by the rapid flow of the river Embaloh. 

"I salute the Dutch people, because they want to live in Embaloh," recalled Yan Kay, a human rights activist who worked daily at the Pontianak Archdiocese's Human Rights Commission.

He is in the 1st grade of SR equivalent to elementary school now, in 1956. He was 8 years old, came home from school accompanied Pastor Schellart, saban in the afternoon hoe making a path from Martinus to Karaam. Scariest, he recalled, cleaning the grave.

The routine continued, the pastors and brothers made trenches. "I after cooking rice for the children of the boarding dinner, helped the villagers and pastor nebas grass. At 5 o'clock we stopped to drink syrup given by the pastor," he said.In school, missionaries apply high discipline to the goal of forming a simple person, not late to church and school. The main thing is honesty."School used to not wear uniforms. Even if it's a used uniform. Some wore cathode pants. There was no notebook in the past. Learn to use stones. To write using a tapered stone. The stone is very easy to break," said Yan, who actively writes this spiritual story.Funny experience when using stones instead of books and stationery. Teachers at the school give you homework. "It was about to go to rainy school. So what was written on the stone was erased by the rain," he laughed.In class if you want to quickly remove with saliva, or with tubers from black orchids. He had just used a notebook, Yan recalled, when he moved to Nyarumkop in the 4th grade. 

"The writing must be beautiful, the tilt should be how many degrees. Otherwise it suits the obliquely hit hand by the pastor. Then counting classes should be yours. The old days were hit not by human rights violations, different now," he recalled.

Over time, Indonesian and Dutch political relations heated up in the 1960s. This had an impact on the continuation of missionary work in West Kalimantan. 

The change of power of the Republic of Indonesia which issued various policies was also initiated the withdrawal of mission work in Banua Martinus.

Unfortunately, the education and health that the mission built during his 74 years of work in 1914-1988 left embaloh land sadly.

The government's policy began in 1988, which built puskesmas and sd-sd Inpres in each village and shifted the education mission of the Menir-menir, which was built decades ago.

In 1990 the SMFA sisters from Asten (Netherlands) serving health and education were forced to resign from Banua Martinus. The area that was once famous as the center of activities and gatherings of people from all over the village became deserted like a no-man's land.

Catholic elementary schools run by Sukma Foundation, boys and girls' dormitories, hospitals or polyclinics run by the sisters were all closed.

The mission has established schools, boys' dormitories, polyclinics, mother and child health centers, and auxiliary hospitals.

"I am sad now and disappointed. Martinus was the center of the church, people from various villages of Bika, Sejiram, Putussibau, and nearby villages came to Martinus. So every Sunday, the village is crowded. People treat beatus Libat, head of Martinus Auxiliary Hospital," said Yan said at the time was able to accommodate 20 beds. 

Yan Kay felt that in school days under missionaries it was not at cost.

On August 2, 2013, a 100-year thanksgiving mass took place in Martinus Parish. Mass led by Bishop of Sintang, Mgr. Agustinus Agus, recalled the presence of missionaries working to spread the character of education and health services regardless of one's background.

"Iparaandam salaloona, that means remembered forever," sallan concluded. (Pontianak Tribune)


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