Santuario Nacional de Maria Auxiliadora Fatumaca, Timor-Leste, 13 June 2022 -- The Religious life is a gift of God. In this vocation, God calls and human beings answer the call freely. It is a gift of God to humanity and the Church. Hence, we have to celebrate this gift in order to be energized for a fulfilling mission filled with enthusiasm.
In 2022, Fr. Elias de Deus Maia,SDB and Fr. Silvano de Oliveira,SDB are celebrating their 25th anniversary of Religious life.
This celebration was held in the Salesian Community of Lospalos attended by a lot of young people and the faithful of Lospalos. There were also some family members of both Fr. Elias and Fr. Silvano who attended the celebration.
The celebration began with the Eucharistic celebration at which Fr. José de Sá,SDB was main celebrant.
The homilist; Fr. Silvano de Oliveira,SDB, one of the Jubilarians, shared his homily by summing everything up in a single word: GRATITUDE. The best way to express our gratitude is through the Eucharist and the Eucharist itself is gratitude. Gratitude means giving oneself to God who gave us the vocation.
The homilist further explained that there are 3 reasons to thank God.
1. God is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). This is the reason for our perseverance for 25 years. The beauty of this Good Shepherd is more beautiful than everything in the world. The beauty of this Good Shepherd that brings us to stick with him for another 25 years. In the same gospel, we do listen “I know my sheep and they know me as well.” To know in the biblical sense means “to be in communion.” We believe that Jesus creates the communion with us, with all of you that we all may create union with Him. To be in union with God forever and ever is called Salvation. Hence, the beauty of the Good Shepherd and the Salvation become the valid reasons to thank him.
2. I am full of Joy in God (first reading) because God has clothed us with the attires of Salvation and the mantle of triumph. For us, God is our Joy (the Gospel). Joy becomes the basis of our submission to Him. We remain with Him already for 25 years because our source is Joy, and we have tried that Joy. Therefore, we would like to continue for another 25 years because we want to try that Joy all the time.
3. God has chosen us to be saints and immaculate (cf. Second reading). This is the free gift that God has given us. Even though we are not worthy of it, He gave us this gift because He loves us. Therefore, we thank Him.
After the homily; the 2 jubilarians renewed their vows in before the altar and the faithful.
At the end of the Mass; the Parish priest, Fr. Tomas de Cavanlho,SDB, invited all the participants of the Mass to join the 2 jubilarians in the grand meal that was held in the orphanage hall at Don Bosco Lospalos.
After the final blessing; there were sessions of picture taking. The 2 jubilarians made themselves available for the photo sessions with different groups in the parish and the Salesian family present at the celebrations.
The program proceeded to the orphanage for the dinner. Before the dinner itself; Fr. Elias, one of the jubilarians gave the lively and animated thanks giving speech to everyone who has been part of their vocational journey to the moment. After the grand dinner; there were multiple presentations of dances and singing presented by the Salesian family and other groups of the parish. In between the presentations; there were also offerings of gifts from the Salesian family and the other groups of the parish.
Among those who were present there were the representative of the Salesians from different communities in the TLS Vice-Province, the FMA sisters, the Canossian sisters, Salesian Family, the parishioners, the president of the municipality, the representative of the government offices in the municipality, and thousands of the young people.