Archbishop Peña Parra visits East Timor

On the occasion of the inauguration of the new headquarters of the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican Substitute of the Secretariat of State is to meet with authorities the and the local community in the Indonesian archipelago until 23 September.

By Michele Raviart

The Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretary of State, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, has travelled to East Timor for the inauguration of the new Apostolic Nunciature in the capital Dili.

Meeting with Nobel Prize winner Josè Ramos-Horta

The Archbishop’s visit will last until 23 September and includes institutional and community meetings. The first official meeting took place on Monday 19 September, with the President of the Republic, Josè Ramos-Horta, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

This meeting was followed by the inauguration of the ‘East Timor Human Fraternity Centre for World Peace’, inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Conference on Human Fraternity

The Document is also at the base of a conference at the Catholic University of East Timor on Tuesday, 20 September, where Archbishop Peña Parra will give a keynote address. In the afternoon, he will inaugurate the new Apostolic Nunciature building. On 21 September, the Archbishop will visit the Canossian Sisters’ Bailide Raihun care centre for poor children, the São Pedro and São Paulo inter diocesan seminary, the Santa Cruz cemetery and the Timorese Resistance Archives and Museum.

Tribute to St John Paul II

Thursday will be dedicated to a meeting with Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak, followed by a Eucharistic Celebration in Dili Cathedral and a visit to the monument dedicated to Saint John Paul II in Tasi-Tolu where, on 12 October 1989, the Pontiff celebrated Mass when the country was still part of Indonesia. On the last day of the visit, 23 September, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra will meet the President of the National Parliament, Aniceto Guterres Lopes.

Independence in 2002

A former Portuguese colony until 1973 and then annexed by Indonesia, East Timor achieved independence in 2002, after years of violence. In 1996, in addition to Josè Ramos-Horta, who became president of the country from 2007 to 2012 and then in 2022, Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, the then apostolic administrator of Dili, was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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