On a recent visit to Sydney and St Canice’s, the newly appointed parish priest of Railaco Fr EJ Gerilla addressed the people at our Sunday Masses. We wish Fr EJ well in his new appointment and look forward to working closely with him.
“From the early days of Fr Steve Sinn and more recently Michael and others, we so appreciate that you look on Railaco as a sister parish like we were your siblings. Your support has been very important for all at the Railaco Jesuit Mission, and I hope for you as well. Some of you have been privileged to visit Railaco and meet the people. I compare it to those in Railaco finally seeing and getting to better know their Australian neighbours face to face. And this morning I can thank God for having the opportunity of my seeing you face to face.
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.
I have been here in Australia for some months as part of tertianship, an opportunity to join other Jesuits from different parts of the world to reflecting on our vocations. The experience has been very wonderful in terms of hospitality. The Jesuit value of welcoming is very alive in this Province.
Timor is a very poor country and though few in numbers, we cannot deny the fact that Timor is very rich in resources; it’s very rich in culture; and as you would expect, it’s very rich in Catholic faith and tradition. But many people are still struggling. Coping with the pandemic Covid-19 has had a heavy in many communities, also in Railaco.
However, because the people there feel reassured that they are not going through this journey alone; knowing that there are people like you who are thinking of them, the journey has been a lot easier. The Railaco people can’t offer you material support in return, but they can and do offer you their prayers. They always think about St Canice as their sister, or neighbour, a friendship which they will always cherish and treasure for the rest of their lives.
I’m going back to Timor as the new parish priest of Railaco. I’m new to parish work and am looking forward to the experience. My journey as a pastor in Railaco will be easier knowing I have St Canice’s as my companion in the journey. Both you, and the parishioners of Railaco are my companions in the journey.
So, I say thank you very much. If you have a chance to go to visit East Timor, let me show you that you have a place in Railaco to welcome you. We’ll be there to share our lives to make our relationship even more meaningful, and closer.
God bless you.