Timorese Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva officially elevated to Cardinal by Pope Francis

Timorese Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva officially elevated to Cardinal by Pope Francis


ROME, 27 august 2022 (TATOLI) – Today, His Grace Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva of Dili Archdiocese has officially become the first Timor-Leste archbishop to attain the rank of Cardinal among the 21 new cardinals elevated by Pope Francis.

The creation of the 21 new cardinals, including Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva took place today, in a consistory ceremony held by Pope Francis, at St. Peter’s Basilica, at 4 pm Vatican local time.

The Gospel reading at the consistory ceremony was taken from Luke 12,49-50: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!”

In his homily, Pope Francis said apart from performing their principal role as high-level diplomats of the Church, the Cardinals need also to be attentive to small and humble things.

“God calls each of us by name. He doesn’t call us by number. Look at us, He calls us by name. Let us look at each other and ask each other a question, and say you are a new cardinal, and can I count on you? This is the Lord’s question,” said Pope Francis in his homily at the consistory ceremony of the 21 new cardinals, at St. Peter’s Basilica, in Rome, on saturday.

After the words of greeting, a prayer, the Gospel reading, and Pope Francis’ homily, the Holy Father officially proclaimed the names of the new cardinals.

After making their Profession of Faith and taking their oath of fidelity to the Church and the Pope, Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva was among other cardinals to kneel before the Pope to receive from His Holiness’ hands, his cardinal’s biretta (red hat) and cardinal’s ring.

The consistory ceremony ended with the Lord’s Prayer after the cardinals exchanged the sign of peace with the pope and each other.

It was a great joy for the Timorese. As it was the first time that a small country like Timor-Leste received the cardinal’s red hat and cardinal’s ring. It’s a recognition of all Christian in ASEAN countries.

Many considered the elevation of Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva was Pope Francis’ affection for Timor-Leste, a Portuguese-speaking country in Asia.

As a second predominantly Catholic country in Asia, after the Philippines, the Timorese people were proud and considered the elevation of Archbishop Carmo as a blessing from God.

Following his official elevation to Cardinal, Timor-Leste’s historic and national leaders, religious leaders, politicians, and ordinary people took to social media to congratulate His Eminence Cardinal Virgílio do Carmo da Silva.

The cardinals, as a group, act as advisers to the pope, and the Holy Father may sometimes call them together to consult on major issues facing the Church.

The elevation of the 21 cardinals was Pope Francis’ ninth consistory for the creation of new cardinals.

These are the churchmen elevated by Pope Francis:

Jean-Marc Aveline, archbishop of Marseille, France; Peter Okpaleke, bishop of Ekwulobia, Nigeria; Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, archbishop of Manaus, Brazil; Filipe Neri Antonio Sebastao di Rosario Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Damao, India; Robert Walter McElroy, bishop of San Diego, California; Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva, archbishop of Dili, Timor-Leste; Oscar Cantoni, bishop of Como, Italy; Anthony Poola. archbishop of Hyderabad, India; Paulo Cezar Costa, archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil; Richard Kuuia Baawobr, bishop of Wa, Ghana; William Goh Seng Chye, archbishop of Singapore; Adalberto Martinez Flores, archbishop of Asuncion, Paraguay; and Giorgio Marengo, apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Short Biography of His Eminence Cardinal Virgílio do Carmo da Silva

His Most Reverend Excellency Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, son of José do Carmo and Isabel da Silva was born in Venilale on November 27th, 1968.

He made his aspirancy, pre-Seminary, in Fatumaca in 1983. He entered the novitiate, also in Fatumaca, in the year 1989-1990. He took his first vows on May 31st, 1990.

Carmo did his philosophical studies and theology in the Philippines, in Canlubang and Parañaque, respectively. He took his final vows on March 19th, 1997.

He received his sacerdotal ordination in Parañaque, in the Philippines, on December 18th, 1998.

Carmo was then assigned to the Salesian house in Venilale as bursar and vicar. In 2005, he was sent to Rome where he studied Spiritual Theology at the Salesian Pontifical University.

Upon his return to Timor-Leste, he was appointed Master of Novices and Director of Fatumaca House, positions he held from 2008 until January 2014, when he took over as Provincial Superior.

On March 19th, 2016, His Most Reverend Excellency Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Dili and on September 11th, 2019 he was appointed the first Archbishop of Dili.

On 29 May 2022, Pope Francis announced he would make Archbishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva a cardinal at a consistory scheduled for 27 August.

On august 27, 2022, His Grace Virgílio do Carmo da Silva was elevated to cardinal among others in a consistory ceremony that took place in St. Peter’s Basilica church.



Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges 


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