By J. Mota SDB
Vatican City, 29 May 2021 -- Five days after celebrating the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians, the Church and the Salesian Family in Timor-Leste rejoiced upon the elevation of Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, SDB to the rank of Cardinal of the Catholic Church. For the Salesian Family in Timor-Leste, it is great news for the entire tiny country island, after knowing that Pope Francis made the announcement on Sunday that Archbishop Virgílio doCarmo da Silva, SDB, of Dili is to become a cardinal. He will be the first ever Salesian cardinal in Timor-Leste after his Episcopal ordination on 19 March 2016 and the elevation of the Diocese of Dili to the status of a metropolitan archdiocese on 11 September 2019. The Diocese of Dili itself was established on 4 September 1940. With this news as it spreads all over the world, Timorese people have expressed their joy and their congratulations to the cardinal-designate through different digital platforms.
Naming Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, SDB as a cardinal shows the pastoral care for the Church from Pope Francis and his special affection for Timorese people. As we know from the news, Pope Francis will create 21 cardinals at a consistory to be held on 27 August 2022. Adding to the rank of the cardinals, from the Salesian Congregation beside the Cardinal-designate Do Carmo da Silva, SDB, there will be another Salesian Archbishop Lucas Van Looy, SDB (Archbishop Emeritus of Gent, Belgium). Of the 21 cardinals, 16 will be cardinal electors including Cardinal-designate Do Carmo da Silva, SDB. For the Salesian Family, as we are about to conclude this month of Mary, let us not cease praying the Rosary for the shepherds of the Church, that through the intercession of Mary Mother of the Church and Help of Christians, God may continually bless the Church and our Salesian Congregation, most especially our new Cardinal-designate confreres.
Do Carmo da Silva, SDB, 54, was born in Venilale, Timor-Leste on 27 November 1967. Became a Salesian on 31 May 1990 and made his perpetual profession on 19 March 1997. He was ordained a priest on 18 December 1998 at the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians Parañaque, Philippines after graduating from Don Bosco School of Theology (DBST) formerly known as Don Bosco Center of Studies (DBCS).