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Biblical Bali

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Just when I thought that Bali couldn’t surprise me more, I discovered about Palasari. And if you’re just like me who have just found out about this special community, then we’re about to learn something joyful.

It’s such a foreign but familiar view at the same time. The façade is an alluring combination of white bricks, with typical Balinese architectural ornaments in dark grey. What’s not typical is those that complements the unique figure – gothic tall doors and slim windows, a church bell hanging under another Balinese feature, red clay roof tiles with a large cross completing its full glory. It was amazingly transcendental to be honest. I’ve seen churches in Bali before, most trying to apply some Balinese influence through architecture – as it is with most non-Hindu houses of worship in the island. But Paroki Kudus Hati Yesus or Parish of Jesus’ Holy Heart has a different aura to it. This building was more, for lack of better words, dedicated and historic.

“When we talk about the history of the church, it traces back to a “pilgrimage” in 1940 led by a Dutch born pastor, Simon Buis.”

But when we talk about the history of the church, it traces back to a “pilgrimage” in 1940 led by a Dutch born pastor, Simon Buis. The padre brought 18 Catholic households from surrounding service areas of other parishes in Tuka and Gumbrih to settle in Palasari. He then cleared a nutmeg field and started the construction of the parish. Later known as Palasari, the area is Bali’s one and only village with the majority of its residents being Catholic. Yet they are not immigrants from other island or province. All of the Catholics in Palasari were pure Balinese – they even have Balinese first names, just like the residents of Pegayaman Muslim village in Buleleng.

The parish and church was officiated in 1958 and has gone through at least two major renovation until this day. A few years upon the parish’s completion, the village erected another worshipping site, a cave to be exact, only a walking distance from the church itself. This time entitled with an acculturated name, Pelinggih Ida Kaniaka Maria. The path towards the cave was adorned with a relief depicting Jesus’ journey carrying the cross, while lush greeneries gave shade to the long walk. Water dripped down from the cave’s ceiling, giving an even more serene and solemn ambience for praying. While I personally don’t pray there, I can’t help but feeling the great effect just by standing in Maria’s Cave (or any part of Palasari for that matter). An effect that brings warmth to my heart, realising that among anything else, in Bali your difference is celebrated.

The Church of Jesus’ Holy Heart
Jalan Gereja No.2, Banjar Palasari, Desa
Ekasari, Melaya, Jembrana

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