09/22/2022, 16.40
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Substitute Peña Parra inaugurates apostolic nunciature in Dili

During the ceremony, the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State met with President Ramos-Horta. In his address, he praised parliament for adding the Declaration on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and Grand Imam al Tayeb to the school curriculum.

Dili (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, travelled to Timor-Leste for the inauguration of the apostolic nunciature in Asia’s youngest country, which this year is marking 20 years of independence.

Located next to the historic Church de Santo António de Motael in the capital Dili, the building hosting the Vatican’s diplomatic mission, is meant to be a visible sign of Pope Francis's closeness to the predominantly Catholic country.

Timor-Leste’s President Jose Ramos-Horta, the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, attended the formal inauguration on Tuesday along with Archbishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili, who was recently elevated to the rank of cardinal. Other representatives from the local Catholic Church were also present as were representatives of other religions.

The visit provided an opportunity to highlight the pastoral and charity work by local Catholic organisations, such as the Universidade Católica Timorense São João Paulo II (Saint John Paul II Catholic University of Timor), which held a symposium on the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of Al Azhar in 2019.

In his address, Archbishop Peña Parra praised the parliament of Timor-Leste for including the Abu Dhabi document in the school curriculum, which will allow children to study it, this in a country that went through a brutal war of independence.

For the prelate, it can offer guidance to "young people in their desire to be good citizens not only of this country but also of the world. For it is only by recognising the intrinsic dignity of all people that we can attain true reconciliation and peace for past hurts and create a just and prosperous society for future generations."

Archbishop Peña Parra’s visit comes just days after Dili celebrated Archbishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, who became the first East Timorese to become a cardinal during the consistory of 27 August.

At the Thanksgiving Mass performed in his archdiocese on 6 September, the prelate talked about the trip that Pope Francis was supposed to make to the country in 2020 but was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“I met with Pope Francis on the last day (at the Vatican) and informed him that the Timorese people are looking forward to his visit to Timor-Leste,” Card Carmo da Silva said. “Although it was difficult for him to stand up, from a wheelchair, the Holy Father said in a loud voice, 'I am going to visit Timor-Leste’.”

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