18 February marked a new moment in Timor Leste’s history, most specially for the Salesian Family. As the Superior of the Vice Province, Fr Joao, put it, “after independence (2002) DB is the first ambassador of God to visit Timor Leste!”.
The flight which brought the Relic landed at Dili’s international airport towards evening, though not without incident, as the aircraft had earlier developed problems and landed at Kupang, on Indonesia’s side of Timor. It required direct intervention by the Prime Minister of RDTL, Mr. Xanana Gusmao, to enable the flight to proceed to Dili.
The highest authorities of the country were at the airport, except for President Ramos Horta who was still abroad, however he did present at the Solemn Mass the following day. Many young people were gathered at or near the airport to receive Don Bosco. Around 15,000 of them. “Viva Don Bosco” was heard along the road.
Traditional ceremonies were held to honor the Casket, which was received by the authorities in the VIP hall. The Prime Minister spoke on behalf of the government, followed by the Parliamentary President speaking on behalf of the absent President of the Republic. The Bishop of Dili spoke finally and gave the blessing.
DB Fatumaca Band played a hymn to Don Bosco which the assembled crowd joined in with, then the Casket was b brought on foot and in procession to nearby Don Bosco Comoro, the Vice Province Centre. Late as it was, the Welcoming Mass was celebrated at 11.00pm in the Parish of Mary Help of Christians, followed by the vigil to honor the Relic.
On 19 February, a special Mass was again celebrated in the Parish of Mary Help of Christians at which the Superior of the Vice Province presided. This Mass was especially for the students in Dili. It was followed by a procession to the Dili Cathedral. Before that the Relic visited “Kristal school” which belongs to the Past Pupils of Don Bosco. Here too the spirit and love for DB is overwhelming. Solemn Mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral was celebrated in the evening, at which the Bishop of Dili presided and some 50 priests concalebrated. The cathedral was packed both inside and out with some 25,000 people, mostly young people.
The Relic has then moved on to Lospalos in the eastern part of the country.