Call to support Timor’s seminarians

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Zaccarias (centre) assists with the ministry of Communion at the local hospital in Dili, Timor-Leste.
Zaccarias (centre) assists with the ministry of Communion at the local hospital in Dili, Timor-Leste.

Catholic Mission is calling on Australians to support seminarians of Timor-Leste as part of the charity’s first campaign for the Year of Mercy.

Inspired by Isaiah 6:8, ‘Here am I; send me!’, the campaign showcases the young seminarians who are answering God’s call in Timor in the face of endemic domestic violence, unemployment and poverty.

Catholic Mission deputy national director Peter Gates said it is an important mission for seminarians of Timor, one of Australia’s closest neighbours, where 97 per cent of the population identifies as Catholic.

Seminarian Zaccarias Exposito.
Seminarian Zaccarias Exposito.

“In this Year of Mercy, we are asking faithful Australians to support these inspiring young seminarians in Timor-Leste and around the world as they help to bring God’s loving mercy to communities in need,” he said.

At 24 Zaccarias Exposito is entering his second year of studies at St Peter and St Paul Major Seminary in the capital Dili.

Zaccarias believes he is called to help solve these issues through God’s mercy.

“To bring people close to us and close to God is mission,” he said. “Through our own life’s example, we can contribute to humanity here.”

Zaccarias was just seven when the 25-year occupation by Indonesia ended with a crescendo of the very violence that characterised it.

As retreating Indonesian forces burnt houses around him, the fear and the courage to remain in his hometown with his father and younger sisters changed Zaccarias’ future.

He vowed to remain close to the people of Timor-Leste. Now he is eager to address the societal issues that have proliferated in the 14 years since independence.

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