Their numbers are growing though not so remarkable the past several years now. The Jesuits in Timor Leste received two new scholastics among their ranks as Jesuits as they pronounced their first and perpetual vows on the 27th of April, 2018. Helio Ramos da Silva, SJ and Deonisio Freitas Mesquita, SJ took their vows before the blessed sacrament in the solemn mass presided by the Regional Superior, Fr. Joaquim Sarmento, SJ.

Helio and Deonisio professed their first vows on the 27th of April 2018. The occasion was attended by their families and friends. Their vows were received by the Regional Superior, Fr. Joaquim Sarmento, SJ. In his homily and words of encouragement for the vovendi (as the candidates for the vows are called among the Jesuits), he tells them a story ‘of a young boy who has to navigate the dark pathway in the forest. Upon the instruction of his father, he was made to carry a flaming torch with an instruction that he should protect the flame at all cost. Be prepared to make a sacrifice if necessary. You may slip on the mud or trip on the obstacles, but never let this flame snuff out.’ The moral of the story applies to the two who has just pronounced their vows. Like the young boy, they are to carry the flames in their hearts, burning for the love of Christ and his church. With our prayers, may Helio and Deonisio continue to be ignited for mission and be prepared to withstand the odds with their loving sacrifice of their own lives for the will of God.

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APROVECHAMIENTO – Jesuit Pastoral Work

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In the address made by Pope Francis to the members of the 36th General Congregation, one of the things he emphasized is to discern and practice more proactively the wisdom of St. Ignatius and the companions when the Formula of the Institute was drafted. He points out the unique concept of aprovechamiento which literally means “benefit”.

He said “the end of the Society of Jesus is to devote itself with God’s grace to labor strenuously in giving aid toward the salvation and perfection of the souls of their neighbors. With consolation, the Jesuit community in Kasait receives this exhortation by the pope as an affirmation of what they have been doing though not without struggle. They are making small impact but not at all insignificant to open the minds of the people to see the mystery of God working in daily lives.

The Jesuits assigned in Kasait have their hands full in school and social work. Upon the invitation of the former Parish Priest of Liquiça, the Jesuits priests residing in Kasait were missioned to say the Sunday masses in the stations in Neran and Lanumate in Kasait. As the number of priests in the Diocese of Maliana is also limited, the coverage of pastoral ministries of the Jesuits have expanded ever since, to include Caiteho, Bogoro, Bazartete, Aipelo, Leorema, Metahu and the main parish in Liquiça. The pastoral activities also include the wide range of sacraments; sacramentals and informal spiritual companioning.

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The Needed Space To Form Potential Leaders

For a young country like Timor Leste, education of the young generation is crucial to ensure the development of the country in the future. In a country where access to quality education is rather hard to come by especially in the rural areas. The Jesuits are running a secondary school outside the capital Dili. The Jesuits school Colégio de Santo Inacio de Loiola (CSIL) – now on its sixth year of operation, is aiming to cater for the needs of the local rural communities as well as deserving students from other areas.

One of the challenges these schools are facing is how to boost the number of students from the local communities around. In order to promote more inclusion on these group of rural students, the Jesuits devised a program to help bridge the capacity of these students and the standards of the school. Hence, the Ulmera Project is conceived to provide remedial courses and to capacitate these students. The results are remarkable on how a number of locals are making their way to join the school and improve tremendously in their academics due to their determination.



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