Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili as Timor-Leste’s first archbishop, 17 years after the country gained independence.
The announcement was made on Sept. 11 by Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, apostolic nuncio to Malaysia and Timor-Leste, during a Mass to commemorate the visit by Pope St. John Paul II to Dili 30 years ago.
Timor-Leste has three dioceses — Dili, Baucau and Maliana — with a total population of 1.3 million, of whom 97 percent are Catholics.
“I am proud to inform you that Pope Francis has elevated the status of Dili to an archdiocese,” Archbishop Marino said. “The pope also has chosen Bishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva as its first archbishop.”
Archbishop Marino said the new archdiocese and archbishop status symbolise the Holy See’s trust in the Timor-Leste Church.
Archbishop da Silva thanked Pope Francis for his trust in the local Church. “Let us use this initiative to unite and consolidate Catholics in Timor-Leste to grow more in faith,” he said.
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With thanks to UCA News and Thomas Ora, where this article originally appeared.