Nobel-prize winning bishop visits Yarmouth

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Nobel-prize winning bishop visits Yarmouth

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Bishop Emeritus of East Timor, Carlos Filipe Belo, visited Great Yarmouth to spend Holy Week and Easter with the local community.

Bishop Belo was Bishop of East Timor until 2002 when he retired, he now lives in Porto in Portugal and visits communities from East Timor in various parts of Europe.

Bishop Belo is well known to the East Timorese and worked tirelessly with them during their struggles for independence. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in 1996 and is revered by his people for his support during difficult times.

Bishop Belo was formally welcomed at St Mary's Church in Regent Road on Maundy Thursday morning. The whole community came to the Church, many in traditional dress to welcome him with music and drums and a traditional song of welcome.

He was also welcomed by Fr Philip the priest in charge at St Mary's and by Councillors Kerry Robinson-Payne and Michael Jeal. The Timorese community provided lovely local food for a light lunch in St Mary's Hall. In the evening Bishop Belo joined the parish for the Mass of the Lord's Supper at St Mary's.

On Good Friday he led them in meditations on the death of Christ and then spent a long time hearing confessions; in the afternoon he joined in the Solemn Liturgy of the Passion. Later that evening the Bishop led Stations of the Cross in Tetum, the local language of East Timor and also in Portuguese.

On Holy Saturday, the Timorese community held a fund-raising lunch for the Bishop and invited guests before being welcomed at the White House by Bishop Alan Hopes. In the evening he joined the parish for the Easter Vigil.

On Easter Sunday, Bishop Belo celebrated Mass at 2pm in Tetum and Portuguese celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord. After three baptisms there was a community celebration with the Bishop and Fr Philip; it was a wonderful community gathering, children singing and dancing, local food prepared by different families, a very joyful close to the Bishop's visit.


Pictured above is Bishop Carlos Belo and Fr Philip Shryane in Great Yarmouth’s St Mary’s Church with local community members in East Timorese dress.