The captivating aspect about our St Canice special liturgies in the past is that they have been well-choreographed, unique local expressions of this cultural aspiration - quality music and congregational singing, indigenous tribute, local educational involvement – and as one with our near neighbours at the Railaco Jesuit Mission in East Timor.
Fr. Hyoe Murayama SJ Director of NOSSEF shares a special video marking the 20th anniversary of the Secondary School in our sister parish of Railaco. It highlights the St Canice’s connection, and the foundational role that so many of our parishioners, past and present, have played. Thank you.
It’s wonderful to be back here at St Canice’s and see so many people I love, and have come to love, to know their stories. It’s such a privilege. I’ll try to hold myself together. Up to now, I've not gone back and looked at my time here, I've not unpacked the stories, it’s hard to do that.
To our Friends and Benefactors, This past year 2021 was also marked with the pandemic. Timor-Leste also faced the destructive power of natural disasters such as heavy rains and flash floods. Since October there have been fewer or sometimes no cases of COVID-19 in the Timor-Leste daily report, but attention still needs to be paid. Our academic year 2021 ended peacefully in Railaco, and we’d like to express our gratitude to all our collaborators and supporters who have helped our teachers and students in this difficult time in various ways through scholarships, teacher salary grants, generous donations of supplies, and prayer messages. Since mid-September, NOSSEF Secondary School has resumed its regular campus activities. The students express their joy of studying together.
Over the years, the collaboration and the sharing of experiences, on top of the sharing of resources needed for the mission in Railaco, have been quite an enriching experience of our being a local church reaching out to one another overseas as good neighbors do.
Thankfully, the recent floods and spread of Covid in East Timor have not impacted the people of Railaco in a big way. In heavily populated areas such as the capital Dili and some other areas, Jesuit Social Services Timor-Leste has been very actively involved in distributing food, clothing and blankets to those affected. Fr Bong reports from Railaco that plans for 2021 for the Mobile Medical Clinic and Children’s Feeding Program just continue as before.
he President of the Republic of Timor Leste, Francisco Guterres, conferred￼ the ‘Sergio Vieira de Mello’ Award for the promotion of Human Rights to Fr Bong of Our sister parish in Railaco Mission for the excellent service of promoting rights of the child to food and nutrition with the Children’s Feeding Program.
I look on this relationship as an experience of a being part of a 'missionary church', a church in which we are sent. In many ways you have expressed that you are this 'missionary church' reaching out to a less privileged people, and especially to the Timorese. We are committed to making this relationship even more meaningful, and in return we like to share with you our prayers and those of the Timorese people.
Among the many good fruits cultivated by the two parishes is Jesuit scholastic, Bonifacio Bano Lay Ribeiro SJ. This 23-year-old Railaco parishioner has just taken his first vows as a Jesuit. Bonifacio first experienced the St Canice / Railaco relationship as a child benefitting from the Children’s Feeding Program, and also studied and graduated from the Railaco Jesuit Secondary School, NOSSEF.
Some years ago, the Jesuits were offered ten hectares of land about seven kilometres from the school. In October of 2019, taking the initiative and drawing on his family background in agriculture, Br Apu was able to organise the ‘dormers’ (as they are affectionately known) to begin work on a farm. This would provide food not only for the ‘dormers’, but for the Railaco Jesuit community, and other students in the NOSSEF canteen.