Raising a Jesuit Priest

IMG_8768 copyOn Saturday morning, July 27th, 2019, was the day that marked another achievement for the community of Metinaro and also for the Society of Jesus in Timor – Leste. It was the priesthood ordination of Deacon Roberto Madeira Encarnação, SJ in Our Lady of Grace Parish of Metinaro, an outskirt village of the capital city, Dili. A crowd more than a thousand people – the community, families of Deacon Roberto, Jesuits, religious, lays, pastoral groups, local authorities, and all the guests who were present that day gathered to celebrate the ordination.

The celebration of the ordination mass preceded with a cultural moving ritual followed by turning over by the family their beloved son to the Society of Jesus and the church as represented by the Superior, Fr. Joaquim Sarmento SJ. In a unique way, as part of the Timorese culture, Roberto was wearing his white robe but also fitted with a traditional headdress with Kaibauk and also a Tais, a very typical Timorese traditional clothing, wrapped around his waist.

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“Companions on the Journey” – A Reflection on the Railaco Immersion Tour, Timor-Leste


My son Elijah (10) and I went to Timor Leste with a great desire to ‘help’, but I left satisfied that simply being me (a mother, a wife, a friend, a teacher) and ‘sharing life’ with the people, especially in the remote area of Railaco, was the greatest gift I could give.

It is difficult to sum up a week of the most authentic, awe inspiring and humbling experiences but I share here a few special connections made on our journey to becoming ‘no longer strangers’, but good neighbours and caring companions to the people of Timor- Leste.

In the absence of a shared language, I experienced the simple yet extraordinary power a smile can have. The silent ‘knowing’ between mothers, sharing food, singing and dancing together – all can engender trust and cement even the most unlikely of friendships.

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ST. CANICE’S PARISH AND RAILACO PARISH: “A Very Fruitful Relationship”

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Last week, parishioners from St. Canice’s parish, the sister parish of the Railaco parish that have been supporting Railaco for many years, along with other friends from Australia came to Timor – Leste. The whole week, from June 23rd to 28th, was a very fruitful and memorable time for the 18 visitors and parishioners from the parish of St. Canice in Sydney Australia that spent the whole week in Timor. The group visited the Railaco parish and some remote villages in Railaco and also the Jesuit schools in Kasait. The aim of their visit was to see the reality and the progress of the Railaco parish in the programs that are supported by the St. Canice’s parish such as: feeding program, mobile clinic, NOSSEF high school, water project, and other projects of the Jesuit Social Services.

Even though the visit from the parishioners of St. Canice was a momentous occasion for the communities especially the residents in the remote villages of Railaco, this was an opportunity for the parishioners of St. Canice to witness and meet the people – children, students, teachers, elders, youth– whom they have had such a successful long distance relationship with.

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