Dili, Timor Leste, 3 February 2024 -- The Philosophical Institute of St. Francis de Sales holds its third graduation for the 34 finalists, composed of 32 males and two females. These finalists are from different Religious Congregations, including some lay people. The graduation was held in the Don Bosco Gymnasium at Comoro, Dili, Timor-Leste.
Fr. Manuel Pinto, SDB, as the President and Dean of the Institute in his introductory remarks, congratulated the new Graduates for their fidelity, conscientiousness, and sacrifice in their studies from the first day of their studies to the day of graduation. All the sacrifice and effort have paid off. "The Congregation and the family, the Church, and the State are proud of you with your graduation," Fr. Manuel Pinto added. Graduation means the conclusion of one chapter and entering a new chapter. Graduation is not the end of everything, but it is an opening to a new chapter. Some of you will become missionaries and work in another country, some of you will work in public and private offices in Dili and the territory of Timor-Leste, and some of you will open a new chapter of continuing your studies abroad. I hope that all of you will use your intellectual capacity in order to help others, especially the least, lost, and the last.
Fr. João Boavida, SDB, presented the “Oratio Sapiential” entitled “Formation and Accompaniment of Young People: Prospect and Challenges.” He explored his topic from a Practical Theology’s point of view. He said that when we talk about the problem of the youth, it is complex, and there can be a variety of proposals for its solution. He added that he is convinced that Practical Pastoral to accompany and educate the young to be good Christians and upright citizens, must have strong roots in reality. This conviction comes from the words of Pope Francis, saying that “realities are more important than ideas.” He expanded his presentation based on the reality of Timorese youth and presented some proposals for a solution for a brighter generation of young people who can be useful for the Church and the State.
Then the Minister of Higher Education Science and Culture, his Excellency Jose Onorio da Costa Ferreira Jeronimo, said that the Government has an initiative to support higher education institutes. The support will enable the institute to provide better qualifications for its students. Hence, the government is committed to helping private higher institutes to offer more quality in the future. He said that he had had a personal talk with the president and dean of the institute, Fr. Manuel Pinto, regarding this institute opening additional faculties.
His Excellency thanked and praised the Church for its endless contribution to the state. The Church has a crucial and important role to play in society's education. He concluded by saying, "Concluding your studies in the university, you will definitely find millions of challenges on your personal journey, but do hope all the intellectual capacity that you have gained in the institute will lead you to offer solutions to those challenges."
Among those present were the Salesian Family in Dili and other Salesian communities in the territory, the Vice-Superior of TLS Vice-Province, the Minister of Higher Education Science and Culture, the President of the Agência Nacional para an Avaliação e Acreditação Académica (ANAAA), the President of the National Federation of Don Bosco Past Pupils, the ambassador for the Republic of the Philipines in Timor-Leste, representatives from different higher institutes in Dili, the Professors of institutes, the superiors from different Religious Congregations in Dili, the parents of the students and friends.