Address by the President of the Republic,
J. Ramos-Horta,
on the occasion of the
Ceremony Celebrating the 11th Anniversary of the Pontificate of His Holiness
Pope Francis
March 15, 2024

Your Most Reverend Excellency
Monsignor Marco Sprizzi
Chargé d’Affaires
of the Apostolic Nunciature


Prime Minister, Brother Xanana

President of the Court of Appeal, Dr. Deolindo dos Santos
Members of the Government
and National Parliament,

His Eminence Cardinal Dom Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, Bishop of Dili,
Eminent Bishops, Dom Norberto
Former President, Taur Matan Ruak,
Other Holders of Sovereign Bodies,
Military and Police Authorities,
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has always been a personal pleasure and privilege to come to this Nunciature, a modern architecture of elegance, sobriety and dignity. He who dwells here and is the guardian of this house is a respected friend of all Timorese, a figure already known and esteemed by all Timorese, the Papal Envoy in Timor-Leste, the eyes and ears of His Holiness, Msgr. Marco Sprizzi.

We gather here today at the invitation of our highly esteemed Papal Representative who has been with us for more than five years, always supporting us with the teachings of His Holiness, seeking with respectful discretion to alert us to challenges, proposing paths to achieve the well-being of the poorest and most marginalized.

And we are gathered here to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the pontificate of His Holiness, Pope Francis.

On this special day, I would like to convey a message of gratitude and congratulations to His Holiness, Pope Francis, on behalf of the people and government of Timor-Leste.

I recall with deep appreciation the kindness of His Holiness, our spiritual leader, in receiving me at the Holy See on January 20th.

The inspiring words and renowned wisdom shared with me on that occasion continue to resonate in our hearts, reflecting His Holiness’ untiring dedication to promoting Peace, Justice and Fraternity among peoples and nations.

His Holiness’ pontificate has been marked by initiatives and reforms that seek to renew and strengthen the mission of the Catholic Church in the world, including in our country.

His message of mercy and hope has been a beacon of light for hundreds of millions of people around the world, especially in grave times like those we currently face.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity of 2019, signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Cairo, Professor Doctor Mohamed El-Tayeb, is one of the most important documents in modern history since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

As is known, the National Parliament embraced this document as a National Document in May 2020, and the current Ministry of Education is already working on legislation to incorporate it into the school curriculum from elementary to university level.

We deeply value His Holiness’ commitment to addressing global challenges, armed conflicts in Gaza and Myanmar, social injustices that profoundly affect the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

His prophetic messages are a call to action on behalf of the most vulnerable and needy, inspiring us to act with human fraternity.

His exemplary leadership, marked by humility and service, has been a source of encouragement for all of us.

His pastoral approach, based on closeness and inclusion, has touched the hearts of many, regardless of their beliefs or origins.

In Timor-Leste, we await with fervent prayers the visit of His Holiness during this year, desiring his blessing and inspiration for our people.

On this significant day, we renew our vows of affection, love and esteem for His Holiness, expressing our profound gratitude for his untiring service to God and humanity.

May God continue to bless His Holiness Pope Francis abundantly with health and wisdom to continue his noble mission of peace and fraternity in the world.

God bless you all.

J Ramos-Horta

Read Original Speech in Portuguese: Discurso Presidente J. Ramos-Horta-Nunciatura.pdf