Railaco Jesuit Mission

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The Jesuits have been working in Railaco since 2001.  The first resident missionary was Fr Samuel C Dizon SJ who began with celebrating masses and other sacraments in Railaco and the nearby villages, and later became the first director of the parochial school.

In 2009, the Diocese of Dili entrusted the Quasi-Parish of Nossa Senhora de Fátima in Railaco to the Society of Jesus for a contractual period of 10 years, renewable.

The Railaco Mission is a three-dimensioned apostolic ministry of the Society of Jesus in Railaco Vila in the Ermera district.

1. Quasi-Parish of Nossa Senhora de Fátima, with a network of chapels (Railaco Parish)

Fr Joseph Nguyen Thanh Phuong SJ was appointed parish priest of the Quasi Parish on 13 May 2011.  The Jesuits serve actively in the pastoral activities of the parish by celebrating masses, officiating sacraments, and conducting formation programs.  A major project is the construction of a bigger parish church that will enable Railaco to become a full-fledged parish.

The parish relies on the donations from the faithful and assistance from the Jesuit Region to cover its costs. It is currently raising funds for the construction of the new parish church.

2. Escola Secondaria Católica Nossa Senhora de Fatima (NOSSEF)

Escola Secundaria Católica Nossa Senhora de Fátima provides youth in this rural area to get a good secondary education based on the teachings of the Catholic Church.  It is affiliated to the Parish School of Ermera. Its first director was a Jesuit, Fr Samuel Dizon SJ who was appointed in 2003.

Over the years, the Jesuit involvement continued with the financial support of the parish of St Canice in Sydney, Australia, and the efforts of a retired Good Samaritan sister, Sister Rita Hayes.

In 2013, after the Railaco parish was entrusted to the Society of Jesus, three Jesuits were sent to work full-time at the school, with Fr Roberto M Boholst SJ as Director.  With this increased Jesuit engagement, the wish is to work with the lay teachers to figure out how to make the school more stable and sustainable.

3. Klinika Na’i Feto Virgem Maria (Railaco Clinic)

Klinika Na’i Feto Virgem Maria is a church-based clinic that was built at the request of the village council, with the approval of the Diocese of Dili.  There, Fr Antonio Martins Abad-Santos SJ, who is a qualified medical doctor, treats the overflow of patients from the government clinic on an ad hoc basis. He also operates a mobile clinic three times a week in 11 areas in Gmanhati, Nasuta, Leorema, Fahiten, Leboloa, areas belonging to Liquisa district –  Dasarlaco, Tocoluli, Caitarahae, Cocoa, Lebdodon, Taraso, and areas in Railaco.

The clinic also runs a feeding program with the help of two local Timorese mothers. The feeding program delivers supplementary feeding to pre-school children in the three sub-villages of Lebdodon, Cocoa, and Caitarahae three times a week.

The healthcare programs continue and they are enriched by the presence of lay volunteers who are generously financed by Jesuit Mission Australia through the help of the parish of St. Canice in Sydney, Australia, and other donors.