“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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Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has released a letter on the Universal Apostolic Preferences after giving the UAPs to the Holy Father and receiving them back from the Holy Father as a mission for the whole Society of Jesus around the world in the next ten years. The letter on the UAP encompasses four main mission preferences.

(Pe. Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior Geral Jesuíta sira nian fó sai ona karta kona-bá Preferénsia Apostóliku Universál (UAP) depois de entrega tiha UAP ne’e ba Amu Papa no simu fila fali UAP ne’e husi Amu Papa hodi sai hanesan matadalan ba misaun Jesuita sira-nian iha tiha sanulu mai-ne’e. Karta UAP ne’e hakerek preferensia/matadalan ha’at ba misaun Jesuita nian.)

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