The Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyib in Abu Dhabi, in 2019 will be introduced in the curriculum of public schools of all levels in East Timor. Its contents will also be developed and studied within the "Center for the Human Fraternity of East Timor for World Peace", inaugurated yesterday in Dili, capital of East Timor. These are the results of the visit (September, 19-23) of Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, in the small state of Southeast Asia with a Catholic majority.
"Our small nation of East Timor is the first in the world to incorporate the Document on Human Fraternity into its public order and education. We are delighted. With the visit of Msgnor Edgar Peña Parra, it has become official that the Document will be introduced and studied in educational institutions throughout the nation, recognizing its merits, values and the precious perspective of fraternity", confirms to Fides Father Bento Barros Pereira, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in East Timor.
As Fides has learned, during Edgar Peña Parra’s visit, the new building of the Apostolic Nunciature will be inaugurated, in a ceremony that will take place on September 22, and institutional meetings with the local community are planned.
On September 19, after a meeting with the President of the Republic of East Timor, José Ramos Horta, Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra attended the inauguration of the "Center for Human Fraternity of East Timor for World Peace", inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyib in Abu Dhabi, in 2019. It is a Study Center that will continue to deepen the contents of the Document, applying them in particular to the Asian continent. The day continued with the participation in a conference on human fraternity at the Catholic University of East Timor.
As Fides learns, today Msgr. Peña Parra will visit a care center for poor children run by the Canossian Sisters of Balide, the interdiocesan Seminary of San Pedro and São Paulo, the cemetery of Santa Cruz and the Museum and Archive of the Timorese Resistance.
On September 22, a meeting with Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak is scheduled, followed by the Eucharistic celebration in the Cathedral of Dili. Also on the agenda is a visit to the monument dedicated to Saint John Paul II in Tasi-Tolu where, on October 12, 1989, the Pontiff celebrated a mass when East Timor was still part of Indonesia.
Father Bento concludes to Fides: "This visit is very important for us, it shows us the attention of the Holy See and makes us continue to hope for the coming of Pope Francis. Here in Timor our mission continues, faith is alive in the population and we are in an atmosphere of joy and celebration, after the return home of the first Timorese Cardinal, the Archbishop of Dili, Virgílio do Carmo da Silva.
It is a great pride for our small and young nation. The Timorese Church has always been close to the population, even in the difficult times of occupation, and continues to be so, accompanying the People of God to live the life of faith and, on a social and economic level, to promote a dignified life, for the integral development of every human person and a society that cares for the common good".
East Timor, Asia's youngest democracy, comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, while the western half is part of Indonesia. It has an area of 15,000 square kilometers, and 97 per cent of the 1.3 million inhabitants profess the Catholic religion. On May 20, the country celebrated the 20th anniversary of East Timor's independence from Indonesia, which occupied it for 24 years.