Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, March 13, 2024

President J. Ramos-Horta today received the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio to Timor-Leste, Monsignor Marco Sprizzi, at the Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace. The meeting focused on preparations should Pope Francis decide to visit the predominantly Catholic nation.

Ramos-Horta and Monsignor Sprizzi discussed plans for projects in education, social services, health and resource allocation that would be jointly implemented by the government and the Catholic Church ahead of a papal trip. The Church would be responsible for executing these initiatives and providing financial reporting on the use of funds.

Monsignor Sprizzi emphasized that any state funding for Church projects is transparent and reported in detail, as “the money is the people’s money” intended to benefit Timorese society.

A visit by the leader of the Catholic Church would be a historic occasion for Timor-Leste, where over 95% of the population is Catholic. The Church played an important role providing aid and sheltering refugees during the country’s struggle for independence.

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