Six fruitful years
This Timor-Leste Vice-province sharing is based on the 22-page report of the outgoing provincial. We are grateful for this diligent reporting on the Road Map received from the hands of the Rector Major in 2016.
Dili, Timor-Leste, 3 July 2022 -- In May 2022, Timor Leste (RDTL - Republic Democratic of Timor Leste) celebrated 20 years of independence. And in a few months time the 'new' Vice-province of St Callisto Caravario (TLS), canonically established in 2018, will give thanks to the first Timorese Superior of the Vice-province who is finishing his 6 years term. Fr Apolinario Ornai Neto was appointed in 2016 as the 5th Superior of ITM (the then Vice-province of Indonesia-Timor Leste), but in 2018 the Rector Major established a new Vice-province of Indonesia (INA) and Fr Apolinario continued his 6 year term in TLS until 2022.
Currently TLS is the largest in numerical terms among the 10 SDB Vice-provinces around the world, with 168 professed Salesians and 25 novices: slightly fewer than the ITM Salesians in 2016 (a total of 196 SDBs and 15 novices).
At present there are 66 priests, 1 bishop (archbishop of Dili), 10 perpetually and 9 temporary professed Salesian brothers, 12 perpetually professed clerics and 70 temporary professed clerics and 25 novices.
The TLS vice-province is qualifying its confreres for a solid charismatic future: aside from the 29 students of theology abroad (Australia, Italy: Messina-Gerini-Crocetta, Portugal and Philippines), 2 brothers in specific formation (Sandor-FIN), there are 11 confreres in specialization (Portugal 4, Indonesia 3, UPS 3 and Belgium 1).
Timorese missionary generosity continues with one SDB in Japan (Hamamatsu), one in Australia (Tasmania) and 4 priests who study and work in Portugal) - beside the 13 missionaries ad gentes sent through the Rector Major (Argentina, Mozambique, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Ecuador, Mongolia and Indonesia)
Rector s of the 10 canonical houses (all are numerically consistent) come together almost every month for their formation and 'business' meeting. Initial formation houses are stable (two aspirantates - Dili & Fatumaca, Pre-novitiate, Novitiate and Post-novitiate) and 6 confreres have been prepared while others are starting their preparation as formators.
Also the Youth Ministry in this 'most Catholic country in the world' (official statistics indicate 97% Catholics), is growing in quality - especially with a planning mentality (SEPP) and newly opened TVET (Fatumaca), and DB primary and secondary schools achieving quality through the DB School Foundation. Moreover the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) is working closely with the FMA and other SF members (ASC, DB Past Pupils and ADMA).
In the other sectors (Social communication and Missionary animation) there is work in progress, thanks to the zeal of some dedicated Salesians: Salesian Bulletin, Salesian Mission Day and SC tools are becoming part of the daily TLS provincial culture. Two international SF group events - 2016 Asia-Oceania Regional Congress of DB Past Pupils and 2021 (online) Second EAO ADMA Congress, together with the establishment of TLS province of Salesian Cooperators have contributed to the spiritual and apostolic growth of the whole Salesian Family.
Since Timor Leste is one of the poorest countries in the ASEAN zone, some steady growth in the economic field is noticed: the Vice province is well connected with many missionary agencies and EAO provinces who support different needs (mainly formation, orphanage or TVET education) and the PDO with many projects became a trusted partner around the world. The Don Bosco Retreat House project.
Many regional events have been held in East Timor since 2016 (Past Pupils Congress, EAO provincials, EAO youth ministry and missionary animation delegates) and and MoU (Memorandum of Understading) signed with Portugal, Australia and Japan Salesian Provinces are a sign of charismatic growth.