At the "Don Bosco Center" aspirantate in Dili nineteen young men between 19 and 27 years of age are immersed in the Vocational Training Center boarding house and training program, with a close accompaniment of Fr. Mario do Rosario, and his Assistant, Cl. Hipolito de Jesus. Indeed they came from all corners of Timor Leste: Baucau, Manugafi, Liquica, Ermera, Lautem, Bobonaro, Viqueque, Dili and Manatuto districts (most places without a Salesian presence). They didn't study in Don Bosco or didn't receive Salesian education in our parishes.
The aspirants have technical preparation in the VTC (sections of general construction: electricity, welding, carpentry, masons; automotive and administrative sections). Due to this background they are very welcome in the houses because they can help with any necessary maintenance. In the evening they are offered language class (English and Portuguese). On Saturday and Sunday, more time for Salesianity, and under the guidance of the postnovices they are involved in the Dili area Oratories. They are introduced to the prayer life with the SDB community and VTC students.
The other group of aspirants comes from the house in Fatumaca (Boarding senior high school program). "God willing, most of these two groups of aspirants will meet in Los Palos for their prenovitiate," hopes Fr Yohannes Laba, SDB, Dili Aspirantate Director.
The largest SDB community in Timor Leste is the postnovitiate of Blessed Philip Rinaldi with 39 Salesians. Under the leadership of Rector Fr. Manuel Pinto with other 6 formators, the 32 postnovices (3 Salesian Brothers and 29 candidates to the priesthood) are accompanied in the 4-generation community with a strong family spirit. From the most senior ITM Salesian, Fr. Joao de Deus (Portuguese missionary, 60 years in Timor) and Fr. Manuel Fraile (confessor, provincial delegate for missionary animation), to the youngest postnovices aged 21, the formation house family is vibrant, prayerful, united and well animated.
Community animation is geared around five groups (missionary, liturgical, sport, pastoral and cultural), with a challenging educative pastoral ministry during the weekend in the Oratories around Dili (Beduco, Beto-tasi, Tasi-tolu, Masilidun, Parish MHC, Kaitehu, Centro, St. John Bosco, Cristal School, Dejukdil and Lurumata). Since 2018 the community has also opened a new frontier in the local Dili prison ministry.
Each postnovice with his own confessor and spiritual guide and personal plan of life embarks on the daily vocation growth journey.
Missionary formation and animation is a special strength of Blessed Artemide Zatti: many of the postnovices are involved in missionary animation: annual Mission Day, specially animated prayers on the 11th of the month, missionary board and other missionary group activities with Salesian Mission Day videos projected monthly for all. Also this year, 2 or 3 third-year students finalize their discernment for mission ad gentes.