Fr. Ilídio Correia, SDB: A faithful son of Don Bosco and the first Timorese Salesian priest to die.

Fatumaca, 19 October 2020. After one year of passing away of Fr. Joao de Deus Pires, SDB , the Salesian Family in Timor Leste Vice-Province (TLS), particularly the Salesians of Don Bosco, again felt the loss of one of its members, Rector of the Postnovitiate House Blessed Artemide Zatti Comoro, dear Rev. Fr. Ilídio Eduardo do Rosário Correia, SDB. We are all grieved by his sudden death due to heart attack. This beloved confrere of ours left this world while celebrating the Eucharist on Mission Sunday. He was about to read the names for birthday intentions, yet he was silent for a minute, stopped for a while then softly fell into the arms of people who were trying to help him. He was rushed to the hospital, but the doctors couldn’t help him too. Around 10.45 am (local time), Fr. Lito (his nickname) returned to the loving embrace of the Father.

On the following day, Monday 19 October 2020 there was a funeral Mass for Fr. Lito. The Archbishop of Dili, Most Rev. Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, SDB, DD presided over the Eucharist celebration, concelebrated by around sixty priests, mostly Salesians and diocesan priests from three dioceses in Timor Leste. His Excellency Bishop Basílio was there as well. As the homilist, the TLS Provincial Superior, Fr. Apolinário Maria Ornai Neto, SDB gave a deep reflection on celebrating the Paschal mystery of Christ himself and stated the life of Fr. Lito was truly a great love for the Church and the congregation. Before the Mass ended, there were four witnesses, namely Fr. Apolinário, Bishop Basílio, Sr. Alma Castagna, Provincial of the FMA, and Archbishop Virgílio himself depicted in different way the life of Fr. Lito. One of our past pupils, Mr. Joao Câncio, ex-minister of Education, from the part of the family of Fr. Lito, recited a poem and sang a song in great esteem of Fr. Lito. After the Mass, all participants were bringing flowers and candles and praying in a procession with a hearse carrying Fr. Lito to his resting place.

What a beautiful witness of his life! On 18 of October, he was celebrating the Eucharist and yet he was called suddenly going back to where he was. During his lifetime, what lies ahead is completely uncertain, but also, it seems, full of promise with this beloved confrere. Fr. Lito was an energetic and passionate man, full of promise and potential who had his own brand of playing music that could lighten the heart and mind of any listener. He was always wearing a smile in his face! He made himself always be available to the people regarding the sacraments! He was truly a faithful son of Don Bosco whose heart is always beating for the young people!

Dear Fr. Lito, thank you for your life witness! You are the priest forever! You are truly a faithful son of our beloved Saint John Bosco! Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord! Let Your Perpetual light shine upon him! May his soul rest in the peace of God. Amen. (Fr. Julio Mota SDB)