Vatican City. On 27 August 2022, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis presided over his eighth consistory for the creation of 20 new cardinals, including Msgr. Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, Salesian of Don Bosco, Archbishop of Dili, the first Cardinal of East Timor.

It is a universal consistory, with Cardinals from the five continents. In fact, three new religious families have entered the College of Cardinals and four new Countries will now be represented: Mongolia, Paraguay, Singapore, and East Timor.

Born on 27 November 1967 in Venilale, East Timor, Bishop da Silva attended Salesian primary and secondary schools in Fatumaca, before joining the Congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco. He made his first profession on 31 May 1990 and Perpetual Profession on 19 March 1997, and was ordained a priest on 18 December 1998. From 1999 to 2004, and again from 2007 to 2014, da Silva was the Salesian Novice Master. From 2005 to 2007 he obtained a degree in Spirituality from the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. From 2009 to 2014, he was Director of the Technical School of Our Lady of Fátima in Fatumaca. In 2015, he became Provincial of East Timor and of the Vice Province of Indonesia. On 30 January 2016, he was appointed by Pope Francis as Bishop of Dili. In September 2019, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva as the first Archbishop of East Timor.

To him and to all the new Cardinals, the Holy Father spoke of the spirit that must animate their mission, recalling that in their hearts there must be a place for taking care of both “big questions and small ones”, and “meeting both the great ones of this world and the little ones, who are great before God”.

At the end of the homily, Pope Francis underlined the universality and attention to individuals, to whom the Cardinals are called and whose secret lies in the gaze of Jesus. The Pontiff concludes, “He calls us by name, and He asks, You new Cardinal, and all you brother Cardinals, can I count on you?”.

The celebration concluded with the formula for the creation of new Cardinals and the list of their names. Each of them was then given the hat, the skullcap, the cardinal’s ring, and the bull with the assignment of the Title. Finally, the embrace between Pope Francis and each Cardinal was an exchange of words of gratitude and greeting, and often a brief affectionate personal conversation. (Source:

At the end of the Consistory, some Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of East Timor and an Italian missionary in Timor, now in the Communities of Rome Generalate House (RCG) and of the Preprovince of Mary Mother of the Church (RMC), reached Cardinal da Silva to greet him and congratulate him.

On 31 August 2022, some FMA from East Timor also participated in the Eucharistic Celebration of Thanksgiving at the Chapel of the Pontifical Urbanium Faculty, with the Timorese in Italy and from other European countries, and a group of Indonesians celebrated in the Tetum language. The ambassador of East Timor to Italy and other civil authorities were present.

Initially the Cardinal expressed his motives for gratitude: for the witness of the missionaries who brought the Catholic faith to Timor 500 years ago; for the anniversary of August 30 in which Timor celebrates the 20th anniversary of independence; and the 23rd anniversary of the first people’s referendum; for his creation as Cardinal.

In his homily, taking up the Gospel about the guests at the wedding banquet, he exhorted all to follow the criteria of Jesus, of humility and service without worrying, because God has already established the place for each one. Speaking of the small country of Timor, he encouraged those present to bring everywhere their identity as joyful Christians rooted in faith, giving witness to charity. At the end of the celebration, everyone had the opportunity to approach the new Cardinal and to live together a fraternal moment.



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