Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (

UCAN: Preach gospel through life example, Vatican nuncio urges Catholics

March 15th, 2007
UCANews (

ATAMBUA, Indonesia (UCAN) The apostolic nuncio to Indonesia has asked priests, seminarians, catechists and all Catholics in West Timor to preach the Gospel through the witness of exemplary daily lives.

Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli visited Atambua diocese March 5-6, after completing a Feb. 26-March 4 pastoral visit to neighboring Timor Leste (East Timor). The town of Atambua, capital of Belu district, lies 2,000 kilometers east of Jakarta. The Jakarta-based archbishop was making his first visit to the region since he became apostolic nuncio to both Indonesia and Timor Leste in 2006. He visited Kupang archdiocese, also in West Timor, March 7-8.

On his first day back in Indonesia, he met 60 seminarians and their formators at Lo'o Damian Major Seminary in Lalian, nine kilometers south of Atambua. The seminarians, who have completed the minor-seminary level of formation are in Tahun Orientasi Rohani (spiritual orientation year), a one-year program in preparation for attending major seminary.

The nuncio told them that the seminary is the right place for formation. "Here you have a chance to continuously mold your personality to become good and devout priests, with strong faith and high dedication to the priesthood, and live a simple life," he said.

"We must unite with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist that we celebrate every day," he urged as he reminded the seminarians and priests of the centrality of the Eucharist in priestly life.

Every priest, he said, must seriously prepare himself to celebrate Mass with the faithful. "You should prepare your homily well to help the faithful comprehend and live it," he advised. More than that, he added, "every priest should proclaim the Gospel with his exemplary daily life."

On the same day, Archbishop Girelli visited a Divine Word house in Nenuk, near the seminary. The nuncio was welcomed by Father Feliks Kosat, superior of the Divine Word province of Timor. The nuncio praised Divine Word missioners for serving as a "torch" for people in West and East Timor.

"The life and the work of a priest should be a model for people," he said, stressing that all priests should live a simple and devout life. Divine Word Fathers started missionary work on Timor and nearby Flores Island in 1913.

At Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Atambua, the nuncio expressed his admiration for the development of the Catholic Church in Timor, especially in Atambua diocese. "I am proud. And I admire the growth of the Catholic Church on this island," he said.

The nuncio called on Catholics, especially young people, to continuously deepen their faith and bear witness to Jesus Christ and his Gospel in society.

Catholics form more than 90 percent of the 450,000 people in the diocesan area, which covers Belu and North Central Timor districts along the border with Timor Leste.

On March 6, Archbishop Girelli visited Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary in Lalian, where he led a Mass attended by the seminarians and teachers.

"We must pay serious attention to the education quality of the seminarians," he said in his homily. "The Church really needs good and devout priests with strong faith and a broad outlook. The Church really needs Christ's witnesses, who are eager to spread his teachings with their life witness."

Father Rosindus Tae, rector of the minor seminary, in his welcoming address, said he and the seminarians were very grateful "since this is the visit a Vatican nuncio ever made to the seminary since its establishment in 1950."

In Kupang, about 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) southwest of Atambua, Archbishop Girelli visited the Pastoral School of Kupang Archdiocese on March 7. Archbishop Petrus Turang of Kupang and Father Kanisius Pen, the school's rector, welcomed the papal representative.

The nuncio told about 300 students: "This school is important, because it is a place for people who will become catechists or evangelizers. This school is built to educate those people and to deepen their faith so they can spread the Good News in a good way."

He called on the students to promote religion teachings and to "be religious people who are eager to spread the Good News in society."

The pastoral school, set up in 2001, has produced 1,275 catechists, of whom 776 were graduate students and 499 diploma students.

In the afternoon, Archbishop Girelli led a Mass at St. Michael Major Seminary in Kupang. Catholic government officials were in the congregation.

Referring to the Mass readings, he said priests "should be conscious of their three main roles as educator, leader and ascetic, all at the same time."

On March 8, the nuncio celebrated a Mass at Christ the King Cathedral.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (