Railaco

Our sister parish in East Timor.

Welcome to E J Gerilla SJ, new parish priest of Railaco

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.

Railaco – Re-emerging from Covid-19

The first two minutes of this video will update you on how the Railaco Jesuit Mission is emerging from the Covid-19 lockdown and its ongoing needs. The remaining few minutes of the video gives you a good opportunity to ‘meet’ Fr Martin Bong SJ, a Filipino medical doctor and Jesuit priest, who has been ‘on mission’ in Railaco for nearly twenty years.

Farming and Leadership in Railaco – ‘True Grit in Spades’

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.

2019 Christmas Blessings from Fr Bong

Fr Bong, from our sister parish at the Railaco Jesuit Mission in East Timor sends us his Christmas Blessings and a message of thanks to all of us for our ongoing support. The message goes on to say: “Here in Railaco, we try to spread love through our works of charity. And right now, we’re doing it with YOUR help, the people of St Canice’s. YOU are with us in MISSION.”

A better understanding of our relationship with Railaco

Parishioner of St Canice's, Michael Musgrave, has been closely linked to the sister parish relationship at the Railaco Jesuit Mission in East Timor. In 2019, the first-ever 'immersion' tour of St Canice parishioners and two people from Jesuit Mission Australia went to Railaco to get to know their 'neighbours' better.

Railaco – Our Timor Neighbour

By being friends with our neighbours in Timor Leste, we become equals. We are not the givers and they the takers. We can sit together in conversation and connection, often with nothing more than a wink, a smile, a knowing look. We can inspire each other as friends do, help each other as friends do, love each other as friends do. We are challenged to move the discourse away from ‘helping’ to ‘empowering’, from ‘feeding’ to ‘eating’, from ‘teaching’ to ‘sharing knowledge’ , from ‘watching’ to ‘noticing’. We can then find common ground where our hearts beat to the same rhythm, just like it does in motherhood, dance, song and smiles – all of which are universal experiences.

Railaco 2019 Barbara

The students of NOSSEF, the Jesuits' Railaco secondary school of nearly 400, see the blessings that their education brings them and therefore they focus on their studies. Last year, all students passed the national exams and the school came 2nd in the country only to be pipped by the Jesuit-run school outside of Dili. Amazing achievement because these are children from poor villages who have experienced the brunt of their recent brutal history.

Railaco – Malcolm France

It had never occurred to me that after PNG, East Timor is Australia’s closest neighbour. Far closer than other neighbours we may be more familiar with such as New Zealand or perhaps Fiji. Australians can travel to the capital Dili on a comfortable modern jet from Darwin in less time than it takes to fly from Sydney to Melbourne. Our neighbours in East Timor of course live in a very different neighbourhood. But the smiles and the welcomes are as warm as any we could hope for from our neighbours back home.

Mother-Love

The key observation I made during our visit to Fatu Besi was that the people have great need, but they are NOT needy. We can make friends with our neighbours in Timor Leste, we become equals. We are not the givers and they the takers. We can inspire each other as friends do, help each other as friends do, love each other as friends do.