On the day he begins a new apostolic mission as head of the diocese of Dili, I warmly congratulate the Most Reverend Bishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva and extend my wishes of pastoral and personal success.
Due to the extremely important role it has always played in shaping the Christian identity of the Timorese people, the Catholic Church holds a unique place in our society. The selfless sacrifice of many religious men and women of the Catholic Church in defence of the Timorese people’s dignity over the years has built the Catholic Church into one of the pillars of our national identity.
The State and the Church have different missions and responsibilities. However, they converge in the sense that both the State and the Church work towards educating Timorese citizens, men and women, committed to honesty and integrity, and developing a society based on Christian solidarity, truth and love.
As Catholic, citizen and President of the Republic, I will work with Bishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva and the Church as a whole to help consolidate a peaceful and harmonious coexistence in our country and a societybased on integrity, respect and love of thy neighbour.
I congratulate the Catholics of the diocese of Dili and of the national Catholic Church on this joyous day as Catholics salute their new bishop.
I conclude by expressing my heartfelt wishes for good health and long life to Bishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva.