5509(I)_A Tribute to the National Heroes of Timor Leste

by ceteratolle posted Nov 14, 2020


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Celebration of National Youth Day 2020

By Fr. Jolino Vieira, SDB

Fatumaca, Timor Leste, 14 November 2020 -- Young people of Fatumaca remember their National Heroes. The historical event that is National Youth Day in Timor Leste dates back to 12 November 1991. On this day, hundreds of young Timorese people were killed by the Indonesian troops in Santa Cruz Cemetery, in the capital of Dili. It was the largest demonstration for independence since the start of Indonesia occupation in 1975. This event was a continuation of the largest demonstration to occur in Timor Leste against the regime of the late Indonesian president Suharto. That demonstration was held in Tasi-Tolu, Dili, during the pastoral visit of Saint Pope John Paul II in 1989.

In addition to the many events that happened in Timor Leste, a large International movement to protect human rights in Timor Leste was established in many countries. These two movements caught the eye of the international community that the human rights in Timor Leste is being coerced, threatened, and violated. Amidst the cruelty and the violence from the Indonesian military that the Timorese faced in those moments of struggle; the Timorese, especially the youth, continuously fought bravely for the freedom of their land.

The Catholic Church played a very important role in these times through the contribution in the whole process of the liberation of our country. Many of the Timorese Clergy and the religious Brothers and Sisters were tortured and killed out due to their nationalism and sheer love for the Timorese people and for their beloved country. Bishop Carlo Ximenes Belo, SDB also played a big role in the process, hence earning the title, “The Voice of the Voiceless.” Eight years later in 1999, Timor Leste got it’s freedom through a popular referendum and its independence was restored in 2002.

In respect of National Youth Day, November 12 is honored annually as a national holiday for public and government offices and schools. On this day, the government encourages each school to organize a Mass with a special intention to pray for the young people who were martyred on the fateful day of November 12, 1991.

In Colégio Dom Bosco Fatumaca, being a private school, the activities and the classes pushed through as normal and in the evening, the educative community comprised of the Salesians, Novices, Aspirants and the Technical School boarding students organized a special Rosary to pray for the martyrs and the heroes who courageously sacrificed their lives for freedom of Timor Leste.

The Rosary was held in the basketball court, and each mystery of the rosary had a specific intention which were all intertwined and interconnected to the heroes. Since we are still in the month of November, there was also an intention for all the souls who are still in purgatory, that through our prayer, the Good Lord may receive them in His Eternal Kingdom.

Living the spirit of the heroes and courage for the young people of today

This rosary was also offered for the Timorese youth of today, so that our Young people may live the spirit of the heroes in studying hard and praying harder for the better future of Timor Leste and may bring our beloved homeland to be a more developing country just like many others around the globe. There was a Mass celebration right after the rosary which was held in the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, presided by Fr Savio David, Rector of Fatumaca SDB community.