Thousands of Timor-Leste Catholics lined the streets of capital Dili to observe the feast of Corpus Christi in a solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament.
The annual celebration was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid pandemic restrictions.
Led by Cardinal-elect Archbishop Dom Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili, the faithful joined priests and nuns to walk a couple of kilometers from Balide Immaculate Conception Parish to the Our Lady of Fatima Monument and Park in Lecidere on June 16.
Among them were public officials and children carrying banners of their schools. During the nearly four-hour process, the participants recited the rosary, interspersed with songs and meditations on the Bible.
The procession raised the theme of the Eucharist and ecology, which refers to the pastoral theme of Dili Archdiocese this year.
In his sermon on arrival in Lecidere, Cardinal-elect Da Silva said that "in the Eucharist; everything that has been created by God acquired its climax of exactness. The grace that tends to manifest itself is tangible when the Lord becomes man and offers himself as bread to his creature."
In the Eucharist, he said, man gets his plenitude and Jesus in the Eucharist invites all faithful to deepen their reflection and contemplate his presence in God's creation.
He, however, added that "men with their ambition have destroyed the beauty of God's creation."
He concluded his reflection by inviting all the faithful to participate in the Eucharist and advocate the ecological movement to strengthen the relationship between men and creation, men to men, and especially men with God.
The celebration ended with the blessing of the Blessed Sacrament to the congregation.
The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ was designated in 2005 as a national holiday in a country where Catholics make up more than 97 percent of its 1.3 million population.