At the end of the Opening Mass, his Proclamation advising that Railaco is to be canonically elevated to the status of full parish draws rapturous applause.
This has been the dream of the parish priest, Fr Joseph Phuong SJ. Fr Joseph’s flock in the surrounding sub-districts of Railaco, has been the focus of his hard work since coming to Timor. He trained catechists in the villages and devotes his ministry to encouraging the youth and families.
Today, one-thousand people have come to be part of this big event. And all will stay on, to share in the Festa. Six cows have been killed by the villagers who unite to prepare the feast and feed the masses.
M y previous visits to Railaco have been focussed on the humanitarian activities of the parish.
Over time, I have become very attached to the people, so it is very rewarding personally when I can come, visit the school, and accompany the volunteers on the mobile medical clinic and children’s feeding program and feel at home. That feeling is no stronger than at meal times when I can join Fr Joseph, Fr Bong and other Jesuits, understand what situations they’re grappling with, and be welcomed as one of them.
On the Sunday morning, I came to the breakfast room to find the Bishop sitting there and ready for a chat. There was also a huge tray of mushroom omelette and a basket of fresh bread rolls made by the novices in the nearby convent brought across for us to enjoy.
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