Young people in Timor-Leste receive lessons in faith formation during a March 9 seminar in the capital Dili. (Photo by Thomas Ora)
A Vatican representative told about 400 Timor-Leste youth in Dili Diocese to seek reconciliation and to avoid conflict and violence.
Speaking at a seminar at Our Lady of Fatima Minor Seminary in Dili, Msgr. Ionut Paul Strejac, the Vatican's charge d'affaires in Timor-Leste, told the youth — mostly university and high school students — that they should live out their Catholic identity by showing solidarity with suffering people.
"Catholic identity is not only about going to church but also to love one another. It's meaningless if we go to church and after that we are involved in conflict and commit violence," he said.
"You have to bear witness in society, helping those in need, feeding and giving water to the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned," he added.
Daniel dos Santos, 22, a law student at Timor-Leste State University, said he felt inspired by Msgr. Srejac's remarks.
"I will try to listen more to what God wants from me this year, much more that now we are in Lent," he told ucanews.com
He noted that sometimes he and his friends visit the sick at hospitals in Dili, he said.
Father Joao Soares, president of the diocesan youth commission, said the seminar aimed to familiarize young people with the church’s social doctrine.
"As the future hope of both church and state, we need to prepare them with proper understanding of their role, to prevent them from easily falling into bad things that we all don't expect to happen," Father Soares said.
Msgr. Ionut Paul Strejac, the Vatican's charge d'affaires in Timor-Leste, receives traditional Timorese cloth from young people attending a Dili seminar on faith formation. (Photo by Thomas Ora)