St Mary Queen Catholic Church, Gumbrih

St Mary Queen Catholic Church, Gumbrih

For those who usually do spiritual tours to the St Mary Queen Catholic Church at Gumbrih should postpone their plan. This happens because as one of the Catholic churches in Jembrana District, Bali, precisely at Gumbrih Village, Pekutatan subdistrict, it has implemented Level 4 Public Activity Restrictions (PPKM) in accordance with government instructions. In addition, they should remain to apply the health protocols mainly wearing masks, washing hands, keeping distance and avoiding crowds. “The Mass (service) is just opened specifically for Gumbrih people with a limited number, especially children and the elderly,” said the Head of Gumbrih Tourism Village, Fransiskus I Nyoman Melastika, on Friday (Aug 6).

Melastika further added that in order to maintain security and not create new clusters, his authority really puts health protocol on priority. On that account, there is a special officer tasked to oversee the implementation of the health protocols. If there are people who experience an unfit body condition, they are recommended not to attend Mass at church but attend it via live streaming. The officers also strictly limit the number of Mass participants to create a sense of security and comfort.

All the facilities such as a place for washing hands, hand sanitizers, masks and checking temperature to support the health protocol have been prepared. Seating is arranged in such a way, so that they are ensured to keep a distance. Similarly, it includes the arrangement of the arrival and homecoming schedule of worshipers.

“Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were many pilgrims saying prayers at the St Mary Queen Catholic Church, Gumbrih. Church activities are held in the parish. However after the Covid-19 pandemic, the activities and arrival of pilgrims to the second oldest church in Bali after the Tri Tunggal Maha Kudus Tuka Church were discontinued as a form of people’s participation in suppressing Covid-19,” he said.

Melastika also admitted that after the implementation of public activity restriction, people really understand and have an obligation to obey all government regulations, including health care discipline. This was always instructed by the Head of the Local Church of the Diocese of Denpasar, His Holiness the Bishop Mgr. Sylvester San. All the people are encouraged to always pray so that this Covid-19 on earth passes with a special prayer disseminated through the Church’s WhatsApp Group.

“In the past, many foreign tourists prayed and attended the service before the pandemic. They stayed at hotels in the Pekutatan area or in the Surabrata, Tabanan area. However, since the implementation of this public activity restriction, no foreign tourists have come,” he said.

St. Mary Queen Catholic Church of Gumbrih is indeed a tourist attraction because of its uniqueness and history. If you are going to this church, you can take the Denpasar – Badung – Tabanan to Jembrana highway. After entering the boundaries of Jembrana District and Tabanan District, you will see the Makepung Monument (Buffalo Race Monument), a national cultural heritage of Jembrana District. From the border, continue west towards the village of Gumbrih. After the BRI Terrace of Gumbrih, you will see a three-way intersection of the Gumbrih Catholic Church. There is a large signpost at the intersection. From the intersection, turn right (to the North) for about 100 meters. The St Mary Queen Catholic Church is on the right (East) of the street.

The parish of St Mary Queen Gumbrih is a parish belonging to the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Denpasar, centered at Gumbrih Village, Pekutatan subdistrict, Jembrana District. Gumbrih Parish is one of the pioneer parishes in West Bali which was pioneered by Pastor Simon Buis SVD, who was nicknamed ‘Ida Pedanda Lingsir’—an authoritative old man, around the 1930s.

Several Catholic families from Gumbrih are part of the exodus that Father Buis carried out on September 15, 1940, together with several families from the Tuka Parish, to the western tip of the Island of Bali and opened a village in the middle of the forest which is now known as Palasari Village, the center of Palasari Parish. Construction of the St Mary Queen Catholic Church (St Mary’s Regina) used today was initiated in 1950 by Pastor Nobert Shadeg SVD, and then blessed on March 5, 1961 by the Apostolic Prefect of Denpasar Mgr. Hermens.

St. Maria Queen Catholic Church of Gumbrih was built by adopting Balinese culture. In front of the church, there is a KulKul (Balinese split-log drum) tower. On the roof, above the altar there is also a section that resembles a meru shrine, a building that is very synonymous with Bali. The ornaments of St. Mary Queen Catholic Church of Gumbrih are also nuanced in Balinese culture.

When attending mass, for instance, many people wear customary Balinese clothes. Men use kamben cloth coupled with a saputan. Besides, they wear a white or cream-colored shirt and wear an udeng (headdress) as a head covering, moreover on attending Masses for Holidays such as Christmas and Easter. (BTN/015)

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