Don Bosco Comoro, Dili, Timor Leste, 31 August 2021 -- The Salesian congregation in TLS vice-province celebrated Salesian Mission Day on 30 August 2021 in Comoro, Don Bosco, Dili.
This celebration was carried out amidst the pandemic crisis. Since Dili and some parts of Timor-Leste are in total lock down, the celebration took place in three zonal areas, namely Dili, Baucau and Lospalos. Due to lockdown restrictions and obedience to the Covid-19 protocols, the participants were limited only to the Salesians in the DB Comoro compound and the invited guest speaker: Sr. Sonia Sangel, FDCC with some of her fellow Cannossian sisters. In Dili, the celebration was took place on August 30th. This is the best possible day for the celebration because it coincides with the public holiday remembering the day of Referendum in 1999.
The celebration started with a Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Provincial, Fr. Apolinário Maria Ornai Neto. In his homily Father provincial said:
“We are celebrating our mission day in a difficult moment due to the pandemic crisis. Hence we must be moved by hope as our rector major entitled our strenna for this year. In celebrating our missions day, we Salesians with all the Salesian family reaffirm our YES to the mission entrusted our us by our Father and Founder St. John Bosco....This gospel message that we live in our daily life will surely entice them to be the young apostles to their fellows.
Our reading of today encourages us to show our love to Jesus and Don Bosco. By celebrating our Mission day, let us show our sense of solidarity in every moment of our life to each and every one of our Salesian confrere, to the Salesian family at large, to the Church, as our Father and Founder advised us and to humanity, most especially those who are in need.
In celebrating our Mission day, we have to give our answer to the Rector Major to listen and accompany the young people as our Rector Major requested and invited us, especially in General Chapter 28, to show our solidarity to the congregation and be missionary ad gentes. This is a call to each and everyone of us to deepen our Salesian life, charism and spirituality in our hearts.
As far as the readings are concerned, let us show our Love to God and our brothers (vertical and horizontal love which forms a cross). It is a call for us to imitate Jesus who obeyed his Father in proclaiming God’s kingdom here on Earth.....
This coming September we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the second Salesian expedition to our beautiful land Timor-Leste. This is an opportune moment of preparation to thank God and to thank the Salesian missionaries who came to Timor and started the Salesian work among the Timorese. We thank our Salesian missionaries who have gone ahead of us and joined our Lord and Don Bosco in our Salesian Garden in Heaven as well we thank also those who are still living among us and have contributed to different levels of our formation to bring us where we are to this day. They are irreplaceable elements in our Salesian history in this tiny land. May Our Lord reward all the efforts they have rendered in Serving God, the Congregation and the young people.
This is also a moment of conversion for us as the people of God and as the members of the Salesian congregation in realizing our Salesian mission in our community, in our vice-province as well as among the young people to whom we are sent. This is a call for us to be faithful to the charism Don Bosco has left us and to make ourselves as the gift of God to others. Therefore, my dear Salesians and lay mission partners among us, it is God who called us and not the other way around, to be the followers of Jesus and to bring him to others.
Second, we are also celebrating the 22nd anniversary of our RDTL (Repubic Democratic of Timor Leste) Auto-determination, the so called “Referendum.” That was the opportune moment for the Timorese to get their freedom. With this liberation experience, it brings to our mind and conscience the value to grow in our faith and values as a consecrated person. This is the real message of Jesus that he proclaimed on our liberation.... especially to those who are in need.”
Aside from Fr. Provincial as the main celebrant, there were also some concelebrating priests in this Holy Eucharist. Right after the Mass, all the participants went to the Post Novitiate House for the conference which was delivered by Fr 'Jojo' San Juan, SDB (TLS Mission animation delegate) and Sr Sonia Sangel, FDCC.