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Timor-Leste offers condolences for the Death of Father José Alves Martins

Timor-Leste offers condolences for the Death of Father José Alves Martins

Father José Alves Martins. Image/PJ

DILI, 15 march 2022 (TATOLI) – The Government of Timor-Leste, through the Council of Ministers, expressed condolences and their deepest sympathies today to the family of Father José Alves Martins, a Jesuit missionary, who died yesterday, at the Hospital de Vila Franca de Xira, in Portugal.

The 80-year-old Jesuit missionary arrived in Timor-Leste at the age of 33 and never left the country for his motherland Portugal and always supported Timorese resistance against Indonesian occupation.

Father José Alves Martins was born on july 17, 1941, in São Romão de Neiva, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.

On september 7, 1958, he joined the Society of Jesus at the novitiate of Soutelo, in Braga. In 1969, he did his first year of Theology at the Catholic University in Lisbon. From 1970 to 1974, he studied and graduated in Spiritual Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. On july 9, 1972, he became Priest, in Apulia, Esposende, Braga.

Martins arrived in Timor-Leste on september 23, 1974, where he began his mission as a teacher and spiritual director at the Diocesan Seminary in Dili. On december 7, 1975, he escaped with minor injuries from the bombing of the Seminary by the Indonesian military.

Martins reopened the Seminary on the outskirts of Dili in 1978, where he was assigned the role of the Rector of the Seminary between 1985 and 1991.

In 2000, he was appointed as the Superior of the Loyola residence in Taibessi and also appointed as the Counselor to the Bishop of Dili. He was also the coordinator of the ongoing formation of the Clergy and President of Santa Casa da Misericórdia.

On june 9, 2004, he was awarded the Degree of Commander of the Order of Merit of Portugal by former President Jorge Sampaio. In may 2012, he was awarded the Medal of the Dom Martinho Lopes for his support of the Timorese resistance and relevant contribution to the struggle for Timor-Leste’s independence. On may 11, 2016, he was awarded the National Order of Merit. On march 27, 2019, Pope Francis awarded him the medal of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in recognition of his apostolic action in Timor-Leste.

On behalf of the Government of Timor-Leste, the Spokesperson for the Government, the Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, expressed Timor-Leste’s deepest condolences to Timor-Leste’s catholic church, Jesuit family of Timor-Leste and the family of Father José Martins.

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Rafy Belo

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