In this month’s newsletter, we focus on the ordination of Fr Sidelizio (Side) Pereira SJ. His ordination to the priesthood on July 30 brought all of us in the Region of Timor-Leste much joy.
It was a cause for celebration too for former formators, superiors, and friends of Fr Side and some, notably Fr Brendan Byrne SJ, Fr Side’s Superior at the Jesuit Theological College in Australia, and Fr Philip Heng SJ, his novice master in Singapore, travelled to Timor-Leste for the ordination.
Scholastic Edgerio Martins SJ had been put in charge of the preparations, and he went a few days earlier to Fr Side’s hometown of Baucau to make sure everything was ready. He was accompanied and assisted by fellow scholastics Diogo Carvalho SJ and Joao Purificaçao SJ. The candidates, too, went early to help.
Most of the Jesuits and the guests arrived in Baucau the afternoon before or early on the morning of the ordination day.
The proceedings began with a traditional welcoming ceremony. Fr Mark Raper SJ, Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific President and Acting Regional Superior, and Fr Joaquim Sarmento SJ, Delegate of the Regional Superior, received Fr Side and his family at the entrance of the Cathedral of St Anthony.
The Eucharistic celebration began at 9 am, attended by a large crowd of religious men and women, Side’s family and friends, alumni of Colegio São Jose, students from Instituto São João de Brito and Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola, and parishioners. Concelebrating with the Jesuits were Diocesan and Salesian priests, including Salesian Provincial Superior and Fr Side’s uncle Fr Maria Apolinário Ormai Neto SDB. Bishop Dom Basilio do Nascimento, the ordaining prelate, welcomed the Jesuits and talked about the Society’s presence and role in the Church of Timor-Leste.
The reception was held right after the Mass in the cathedral grounds. Most of the Jesuits and guests stayed until the next morning for Fr Side’s thanksgiving Mass.
It was indeed right to give thanks. As Fr Sarmento said, “Side’s ordination is a special blessing for our region, which has long relied on the support of Jesuit missionaries. But since Timor-Leste became independent, the formation of our young Jesuits has been our priority in mission. Fr Side is the first fruit of this endeavor with, God willing, many more to come in the not too distant future.”
Fr Side is already deep in his assignment as Rector of Instituto São João de Brito, a position he assumed in May, after completing his further studies in education in Australia.
Please join us in praying for Fr Side that he grows in his priesthood – in holiness and in loving service to his people in Timor-Leste.