THE Australian bishops have invited all Australians to celebrate East Timor’s formal independence on May 20 by pausing for prayer and thanksgiving.
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Francis Carroll of Canberra and Goulburn, said last week that Australians had a special affiliation with the people of East Timor.
‘Australians may recall the moment of liberation in September 1999 when the results of East Timor’s referendum were announced. Despite intimidation and threats from the militia an overwhelming number voted for independence,’ he said.
‘There were no safe havens for the people. But (now) East Timor will be truly independent.’
Chairman of Caritas Australia, Bishop Hilton Deakin of Melbourne, will represent the Australian bishops at the independence celebrations.
Josephite Sister Josephine Mitchell, who has worked with the East Timorese since 1994, said Timorese ‘hearts are glad, overwhelmed’ at their country’s independence.
In Brisbane, Timorese will celebrate a thanksgiving Mass in St Brigid’s Church, Red Hill, on May 25 at 3pm.
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