This is a sign of better relations between Protestants and Muslims who in recent years in the nearby Moluccas and in Sulawesi engaged in bloody clashes that left 15,000 dead and a million homeless.
Father John Lengkong, secretary of the diocese, says that the Catholic Church locally is sponsoring free medical and health care through Friday, in the seven main towns of the diocese.
Many poor people have already requested medical examinations and operations, adding their names to long waiting lists at Christian medical centers.
The Manado Diocese proclaimed 2003 a year of “Love, Not Violence” with a series of initiatives to promote reconciliation in a society still wounded by the conflict. Events planned include charity activities, and ecumenical and interreligious meetings. Protestants and Muslims alike have backed the initiative.
Manado Diocese covers an area of 90,000 square kilometers (36,000 square miles), with a population of 4 million, of whom 124,000 are Catholics. Muslims are the majority.