Monsignor José António dies aged 82

Monsignor José António dies aged 82


DILI, 28 december 2022 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste’s Monsignor José António da Costa has died at the age of 82 after serving as the cathedral parish priest for nearly 30 years.

Monsignor Antonio died at the Guido Valadares National Hospital at 2:15 a.m. local time. 

On wednesday, Monsignor Antonio’s family and the Archdiocese of Dili decided that the late Monsignor Antonio be buried in the Priest’s Graveyard located in Maloa, Dili.

“After a meeting between the family and Cardinal Virgilio do Carmo da Silva. The decision is made that the funeral ceremony will take place on december 30, beginning with the memorial mass in the Cathedral at 9 am,” said Fr. Leandro Maria Alves, Administrator of the Cathedral. 

Monsignor Antonio was the longest-serving Vicar General of the Diocese of Dili (1993-2003), has been the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Dili since 2016, and the longest-serving Parish Priest of Dili Cathedral since 1993. 

“The death of Monsignor Antonio is a big loss for the Church of Timor-Leste and the country. He set good examples for many to follow. He dedicated his entire life to the service of the Church to serve our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Alves. 

In april 2007, Monsignor Antonio received the honorary title of “monsignor” from Pope Benedict XVI for being the long-serving Catholic missioner who witnessed the conversion of Timorese people to Catholicism during Portuguese and Indonesian rule. 

“Monsignor” is an ecclesiastical honorific title for a priest of the Catholic Church. This honor is bestowed upon a priest directly by the pope, most often in consultation with the local bishop. A monsignor is also referred to as a “Chaplain of His Holiness.”

During the celebration Mass in Dili on may 3, 2007, the late Bishop Alberto Ricardo da Silva of Dili said the award was an honor for the Timor-Leste Catholic Church. 

Short biography 

Monsignor José António da Costa was born in Fatuk Mutin hamlet, Fatuk Kahi village in Fatuberliu Administrative Post, Manufahi Municipality, on may 4, 1940. He is the seventh son among 11 siblings of the couple Antonio da Costa and Etelvina da Costa. He also has six half-siblings. 

Monsignor Antonio completed his primary education (6 years of schooling) in Soibada (1949-1955). After terminating his primary education, he began his secondary education at the Minor Seminary in Dare from 1955 to 1960. Following the completion of his secondary education, Monsignor António immediately started his Philosophy Course at the Major Seminary of Dare and Macau from 1960 to 1963. He did his Theology Course in Macau (1963-1967). From 1971 to 1973, Monsignor António studied Canon Law at the Gregorian University in Rome.

In 1967, Monsignor Antonio was ordained as a priest in Fatima Portugal after completing his theological course. 

In 1968, he was appointed as Vicar Cooperator in the municipality of Bobonaro. 

In 1993, he was chosen as Parish Priest of the Cathedral of Dili, until his last breath. 



Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Nelia Borges 


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