Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, 18 October 2018
The President of the Republic Francisco Guterres Lú Olo met with the Apostolic Nuncio to Timor-Leste, Monsignor Joseph Marino, to talk about his visit to Rome and the Pope’s visit to Timor-Leste.
While conveying Pope Francis’ greetings, Monsignor Joseph Marino said that the head of the Roman Catholic Church keeps Timor-Leste close to his heart.
On the fact that the President of the Republic wishes to meet with Pope Francis in Rome, Monsignor Joseph Marino said that, formally speaking and in terms of protocol, the preparatory work is being carried out for the Head of State’s visit to Rome on 23 November.
“We need to know that this visit is not one of a political, economic, commercial, strategic and military nature. Rather, it is about spirituality and pilgrimage,” the diplomatic representative of the Holy See said, adding that he hopes that the visit will be authorised by National Parliament.
Still on this occasion, the President of the Republic said that he will invite Pope Francis to officially visit Timor-Leste in 2019 as Timor-Leste is about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the referendum in which the Timorese people decided on independence, and the 30th anniversary of the visit of Pope John Paul II which brought worldwide attention to Timor-Leste and acted as a catalyst for protest against the Indonesian military occupation. Monsignor Joseph Marino agreed that those were historical days for Timor-Leste and said that their importance is widely recognised.
Joseph Marino met with the President of the Republic Francisco Guterres Lú Olo for the first time following his swearing-in in May 2017.