The Ordination to the Priesthood of the Two Young Jesuits: The First Ordination in the Midst of the Pandemic

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On the 1st of August, 2020, Fundação Companhia de Jesus em Timor – Leste (Society of Jesus) celebrated the ordination to the priesthood of its two deacons, Rev. Isaias Abilio Caldas, SJ and Rev. Julio Antonio Sousa Costa, SJ. The ordination was held at the Nossa Senhora de Fatima Parish in Railaco. The ordination was held few weeks after the end of several months of lockdown period in Timor-Leste. There was a big turnout of people amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. The occasion gathered more than two thousand people including families, friends, clergy, religious sisters, and many honored guests who were also there to witness the ordination of these two young Jesuits.

More than two thousand faithful gathered outside the Church overcrowding the entire area in front of the Church. Families, friends, and honored guests gathered outside the Church facing the beautifully decorated altar under the extended tent set up to accommodate the participants. Clergies from different congregations were also there concelebrating with the principal celebrant, the Archbishop of Dili, Msgr. Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, SDB. It was truly an incredible and joyful moment for everyone especially for the families of the two ordinands who were there to witness this joyful and emotional celebration.

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The Fruit of a Longstanding Relationship between the sister parishes of St. Canice in Australia and Railaco in Timor-Leste


Among the many good fruits cultivated by the two parishes is Jesuit scholastic, Bonifacio Bano Lay Ribeiro SJ. This 23-year-old Railaco parishioner has just taken his first vows as a Jesuit. 

Bonifacio first experienced the St Canice / Railaco relationship as a child benefitting from the Children’s Feeding Program, and also studied and graduated from the Railaco Jesuit Secondary School, NOSSEF.

Railaco Parish in Timor – Leste and St. Canice’s Parish in Australia have cultivated a very fruitful long-distancerelationship since the year of 2004. St. Canice’s parish in Australia has been supporting the Railaco Jesuit Mission in various humanitarian and education programs such as Feeding Program, Clinic of Nain Feto Virgem Maria, mobile clinic, and NOSSEF high school. Throughout these years and through these programs, we can see the impacts and the fruits of this longstanding relationship.