UCA News reports that Archbishop Girelli was making his first pastoral visit to East Timor (Timor Leste) this week since he took office as apostolic nuncio to both Indonesia and Timor Leste in 2006.
He celebrated Mass at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Dili, visited camps for displaced people in and around the capital, and visited Our Lady of Fatima Minor Seminary in Dare, a village of Dili. He also met with leaders of Baucau and Dili dioceses, which cover the predominantly Catholic country.
After the meeting with President Xanana Gusmao, the Jakarta-based nuncio told the media that throughout his three-day visit he asked the Church and the government to build peace and stability in Timor Leste.
"I bring also Pope Benedict XVI's blessing and prayer that Timor Leste be free from crisis as soon as possible," he said.
Bishop Alberto Ricardo da Silva of Dili accompanied Archbishop Girelli to the meeting.
Archbishop Girelli said that aside from talking about Church participation in the fields of education and health, they also discussed long-term cooperation between the Vatican and Timor Leste in order to create peace.
"The president told us that Timor Leste really needs the diplomatic relations with the Vatican," the nuncio added.
Bishop da Silva, who also spoke to the press, said that during the meeting "the nuncio asked the president to work together with the Church to quickly solve the crisis."
A mutiny in April 2006 led to months of arson, looting and gang violence, pitting locals from eastern and western parts of the country against one another. At least 20 people died and 100,000 were displaced, taking refuge in camps, many of them in Catholic churches and centres.
Vatican delegation to visit Vietnam
Meanwhile, the International Herald Tribune reports that a Vatican delegation will talk with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi next week as the Holy See strives for diplomatic relations with the Communist-run country, Vatican officials said on Thursday.
Msgr Pietro Parolin, an undersecretary of state, will lead the delegation, which departs from Rome on Sunday.
The visit will go ahead despite the arrest of a Hue Catholic priest, Fr Nguyen Van Ly, last week.
Although the visit is part of periodic talks between both sides, this appointment followed a recent meeting at the Vatican between Pope Benedict XVI and Vietnam's prime minister.
The Vatican has indicated that official ties between the Holy See and Hanoi could lead to Catholic assistance in medical care and other social services for the Vietnamese people.
Nuncio Presents Credentials, Asks Local Church And Government To Work Together (UCA News, 1/3/07)
Vatican delegation going to Vietnam next week as Holy See seeks diplomatic ties (International Herald Tribune, 1/3/07)
Ramos-Horta seeks Catholic nod for Timor presidency (CathNews, 266/2/07)
Indonesia-Timor commission promotes reconciliation (CathNews, 8/2/07)
First graduates from ACU Timor teachers course (CathNews, 23/11/06)
Former Timor PM blames Church over ouster (CathNews, 10/11/06)
East Timor situation calm for All Saints (CathNews, 3/11/06)
Nobel prize Bishop meets Timor rebels and ex-PM (CathNews, 27/10/06)
Men killed outside Dili Church as Timor's PM leaves to see Pope (CathNews, 24/10/06)
Timor bishop in bid to prevent new violence (CathNews, 13/10/06)
Timor highlanders back fugitive rebel with prayers (CathNews, 11/9/06)
'Big people' must reconcile, say displaced Timorese (CathNews 15/8/06)
Priest says coffee growers big losers in Timor unrest (CathNews 21/7/06)
Ramos-Horta wants Vatican embassy for Timor (CathNews 11/7/06)
Timor Church accused of plotting coup (CathNews 29/6/06)
Timor Church to pursue truth and dialogue (CathNews 28/6/06)
Diocese prepares to aid fleeing East Timor refugees (CathNews 11/5/06)
East Timor Catholic leaders appeal for calm after riot (CathNews 5/5/06)
Thousands shelter in Catholic centres after East Timor riots (CathNews 3/5/06)
West Timor bishop tells Govt it's time to act on refugees (CathNews 13/3/03)
2 Mar 2007