Jesuit Education in Timor Leste

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The Society of Jesus has administered Colégio de São José at the request of the Bishop of Dili since 1993. However, CSJ is and continues to be a school of the Diocese of Dili.  Direction of CSJ will revert to the Dili Diocese at the end of 2011, but our work in education in Timor Leste will continue.  

Fr Mark Raper SJ has issued a statement in Timor Leste regarding the Society’s position on Jesuit education in the country.

The Society of Jesus has administered Colégio de São José at the request of the Bishop of Dili since 1993. Since its beginning CSJ is a school of the Diocese of Dili. The ten year commitment by the Society had expired in 2003 and in August 2010 the Diocese indicated its intention to resume direct responsibility for Colégio de São José since it needed access to the property on which the college is located. The Bishop also indicated that CSJ will retain its name and continue in operation as a diocesan school. In October 2010 the Diocese informed the Jesuits that the St Paul Foundation, the body responsible for education in the Dili Diocese, will resume the direction of CSJ by the end of 2011.

The Society is proud of and grateful for its long association with Colégio de São José and of the many teachers, parents, alumni and alumnae who remain our friends and who have made significant contributions to the country and to the community. We have built up and now hand back an important institution through which the Church can continue its service to the people of Dili. During times of conflict, CSJ has been one of the few institutions in Dili that remained functioning and was a source of social stability for the city and the country. In the transfer of direction of Colégio de São José to the St Paul Foundation, the Jesuits’ principal concern will be to give back a school that is functioning to high standards. We now plan for an effective and smooth transfer of leadership keeping in mind the best interests of the students and also taking care for the teachers who have served so faithfully over years.

The Society remains committed to education and is currently exploring how to make an effective contribution that will serve the needs of the whole country, especially the poorest. A site has been identified in Kaseit to the West of the city of Dili and development has commenced there with a view to opening a new Jesuit education project. The purpose of the Society’s presence is to serve the people of Timor Leste and to support the Timorese Church.

Mark Raper SJ
Acting Regional Superior for the East Timor Jesuit Region
President, Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific