Remembering a Significant Visit of Pope John Paul II, Tasitolu, Dili, East Timor

pope john paul, tasitolu
Standing at the hilly side of west Dili, overlooking the beautiful coastline of Tasitolu is the six meter tall bronze statue of the late Pope John Paul II.

Erected in June 2008, some might wonder on the significance of the late Pontiff on East Timor and why a statue is deserved to be erected facing Jesus (Cristo Rei) on the other end.
pope john paul statue, tasitolu

An estimated 96% population of Catholic belief, a significant Portugal legacy, East Timor is the second largest Catholic country in Asia next to Philippines.

With more than a decade long struggle, where any form of expression was suppressed by Indonesia militant rule, religion was the only remaining source of hope for many Timorese.
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu

A visit from the head of the Catholic Church marked by a mass celebrated on October 12, 1989, what I can only assume not only further elevated Timorese faith but also ignited the passion to continue to fight for the country independence.
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu

Though, a lot of write-ups had speculated on the political side of the late Pontiff visit to the small island nation of Timor Leste, the mere fact that he was the only world leader to visit the nation during its darkest hour, via wide media coverage of his arrival has shed international awareness to the continuing struggle that Timorese was facing then.

The late Pope John Paul II visit has to be one of the most substantial catalysts that led to the 2002 country sovereign declaration, for this the Timorese are eternally grateful.
pope john paul statue, tasitolu

On a lighter side, the Tasitolu – Pope John Paul II statue route is a good or even better alternative to the usually crowded Cristo Rei for the exercise/running enthusiasts.

The area of Tasitolu is blessed with beautiful mountain greenery view, a lake that can be circled around and a park decorated with traditional Timorese palm thatch roof gates.

This park is a popular venue for concerts or any gathering requiring huge space.
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu

You can continue your walk or run towards the Pope statue from the lake by searching for the start of the red-painted stairs.
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu

The late Pope statue is a popular hang out for locals on weekend, so it is normal to see families sitting quietly and just enjoying the peace.
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu

Like Cristo Rei, the elevated hills of the Pope statue location offers a magnificent panoramic view of the bay across and the stretch of the city.

Wait a little longer, when the blue sky turn to a fiery combination of red-orange-pink, when the island of Atauro across started to fade in sight.
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu
pope john paul statue, tasitolu

Capturing the last two frames is where I truly appreciate how beautiful East Timor is, how blessed I am to be here despite the many times that I find myself complaining on the lack of many modern city perks.

2 thoughts on “Remembering a Significant Visit of Pope John Paul II, Tasitolu, Dili, East Timor

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s