Timor-Leste joyfully welcome Cardinal Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, S.D.B at Dili International Airport

Timor-Leste joyfully welcome Cardinal Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, S.D.B at Dili International Airport

Photo/Salesiano Dom Bosco

DILI, 05 september 2022 (TATOLI) – The Timorese people received with pride and joy his eminence Cardinal Virgílio do Carmo at the Dili International Airport.

His Eminence Cardinal Virgílio do Carmo da Silva arrived at Dili International Airport around 7 a.m. local time and was received by the Head of the Organizing Committee Fr. Guilhermino da Silva, and the Minister of State Administration, Miguel Pereira de Carvalho, accompanied by the President of the Republic José Ramos Horta, members of the government, members of parliament, the former major-general of the F-FDTL, Lere Anan Timor, the representative of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Atambua, Chargé d’affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature of Timor-Leste, Monsignor Marco Sprizzi and thousands of Timorese.

Photo Tatoli

Shortly after his arrival, the New Cardinal of Timor-Leste offered the blessing to all Timorese Catholics who were waiting to welcome him back to his homeland.

Speaking at the VIP Conference Room of Dili Airport, His Eminence Cardinal Virgílio do Carmo da Silva appreciated all the Timorese people for their prayers, love, and support.

“I would like to take this special opportunity to thank all the Timorese people for their immense support and love and thank you for your prayers from the day of my appointment till today,” Cardinal Silva said in the VIP Conference Room after arriving at Dili airport, today.

Cardinal Silva also thanked all Timor-Leste’s delegations that attended the consistory ceremony in the Vatican, including Kay Rala Xanan Gusmão, Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, José Lucas do Carmo da Silva, MP Luís Roberto da Silva, MP Maria Angelina Sarmento, MP Lídia Norberta dos Santos, and MP Regina Freitas, and myself,” he said.

He also thanked all the Timorese who came from the United Kingdom, Portugal, and other places in the world to attend the consistory ceremony,” said Cardinal Silva.

Photo Tatoli

“As a cardinal, Pope Francis asked me to help His Holiness to bring the fire of God’s love to all the Timorese people. One thing that makes Pope Francis happy is that many Timorese, including members of our government, MPs, and lots of Timorese people were present at the consistory ceremony. So, His Holiness asked me to take care of the church and the people,” said Cardinal Silva.

Fr. Arnaldo Frederico de Deus said he was happy to receive the first Timorese Cardinal in Timor-Leste’s history.

“It is a great joy and pride to welcome our first Cardinal. This is a blessing from God. I would like to ask all Timorese to live a true Christian life as Catholics,” he said.

At the same place, as a religious person in Timor-Leste, Sister Elda Bibiana Soares said she was happy to receive the first Timorese cardinal: “We thank God for his grace.

In addition, Julio Soares, a student of the Cristal Higher Education Institute said that the creation of Cardinal Virgílio will strengthen the faith of the Timorese youth in the future.

Fiorela Mota, a student of São Pedro Secondary School said she believed that His Eminence Cardinal Virgilio will bring new energy and hope to all Timorese people.

Photo/Salesiano de Dom Bosco Timor-Leste

“With God’s message through Cardinal Virgilio will motivate all young people to spread love and kindness to promote peace and stability in the country,” said Mota.

After leaving Dili airport, thousands of Timorese took to the streets to joyfully welcome His Eminence Cardinal Virgílio do Carmo da Silva.

Cardinal Virgilio is set to preside over the first Mass after becoming Cardinal, to take place in Tasi-Tolu, Dili, on september 6 at 4pm local time.

His Grace Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva of the Archdiocese of Dili was officially elevated as the first Timorese Cardinal among the 21 new Cardinals on 27 august in St Peter’s Basilica, in Rome.

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.

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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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