Introduction: When I realised that Donato must begin his isolation following his Covid test on the 22nd June I also knew that there would be many in our community who would miss the chance to speak with him and to give him their wishes for his Ordination to priesthood on August 8th. My idea was an interview with Donato to give him the opportunity to tell us what is ahead for him and to say his farewells to our community. I met with our well-loved Deacon at the Priory on Saturday 20th June. What follows are my notes from our conversation.
What is ahead for you as you leave Coorparoo and return to Timor Leste? Can you give us a picture of what will be happening?
“Firstly, thank you for these questions. I have found it a time of reflection for me as I thought of my responses. I leave Coorparoo on 2nd July fly via Darwin and then onto Timor Leste. I must then meet the Timor Government’s requirement and self-isolate for 14 days.”
Tell us a little of your Ordination preparations:
"Already I have spoken many times with my parents and family. Once the self-isolation time is completed, I hope to travel with Fr Carlito and Fr Bruce to my home in Suai and to see my parents and brothers and sisters. A big worry for my parents is that Suai is a distance from Dili where I will be ordained. It is a 5 /6 hrs travel on a bus. The cost of the travel is very expensive.”
Ordination and celebrations in Dili?
I will be ordained in Dili by the Archbishop of Dili, Archbishop Virgilho (a very nice person). Fr Carlito has been organising for this and tells me I do not need to worry about it. Usually this is an occasion for a great gathering of people- thousands, followed by many joining in the celebrations. Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 virus restrictions I think my occasion - it will be very different.”
“We will travel to Suai for my First Mass. This too will be a very special time for my family. I hope to stay for some time in Suai, sometimes staying with my family in my village and sometimes at the parish house. My village is very close to the parish – as far as it is from the Priory to Coorparoo Junction – very close”
After ordination you have been appointed to Zumalai – a place special to our parish as it is at Zumalai that so many projects have been supported by the Coorparoo school and parish communities. What will be your role as priest there?
"I will join the other Carmelites in Zumalai in their pastoral ministry. Fr. Aniceto, Fr. Pedro and Br. Antonio
Tell us something of your family.
"My parents live in Suai. I have 3 brothers and 4 sisters. My name Donato means: ‘Do’ is first and ‘natus’ means born. I am the first born in my family. I have a sister who is a Carmelite sister - she is the second youngest. I speak often on the phone with my parents and family. My parents ask me if I am safe with the virus here. I tell them I am fine – I am worried about them having the virus in Timor!”
We have loved having you in our community at Coorparoo. We are so impressed with your increased skill in English, your great smile and joyfulness. What will be your special memories and experiences that you will take as you leave Coorparoo?
“I have had many experiences here. People are generous, kind, I have good friends here. I will never forget in my life my time here. When I return to Timor, I will share my experiences with my family and my Carmelite brothers. When my parents ask about Coorparoo. I say – they are just like Timor Leste. Good people. They talk before and after Mass – just like Timor Leste. They are good people”
Thank you, Donato. We have been blessed to have had you with our community for this time. Your main purpose was to study English in the year you have been at Coorparoo and we congratulate you on your successful graduation this week. We have known you as a special presence in our community. You will take a lot of love with you. We wish you many blessings and great joy as you move into this next phase of your ministry.
Our blessing is from the Celtic prayer:
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Maromak sei tane o iha nia liman laran.