6:00 pm, after helping Mr. Butch Batilong create a new Blog, I called up Father Cyrus Banque, CMF and confirmed our appointment at 7:00pm.
I arrived 30 mins late. Father Cyrus was waiting for me at the porch in Claret House and talking to a Poliklinik Sister. He gave the Sister a ride home to her convent in Bebunok, near a primary school and I went with them. We then proceeded to Balide Parish to drop a letter and drove straight to Little Padang Restaurant, and Indonesan-owned restaurant along the coastal road in Dili, East Timor.
This is my first meeting with Father Cyrus in person. I saw his picture before, on the internet when he was interviewed by the press about the conflict an Bobonaro, near the Timor Leste-Indonesa border.
We talked about things back at home in the Philippines, and things back at Claret Seminary in Quezon City. I didn't get to meet him during my college days in the seminary at Sanville.
Father Cyrus has been living among the Timorese for eight years. The way Alfonso talks about Father Cyrus shows how much the Timorese love this Filipino Missionary. Alfonso has been working for 5 years with the Claretians but he has been working with Father Cyrus for the past two years only.
He is the director for Justice and Peace Commission, Dili Diocese and has given seminar with the theme Promoting healing in divided communities. He has worked with the peace and reconciliation program established by the United States-based Catholic Relief Services after East Timor’s first democratic elections in 2001.
"The country is under pressure. Do we want justice? Or do we want economic stability? This is a tough dilemma."
- Fr. Cyrus Banque
Father Rick Solomon, also Claretian Missionary who comes from Bohol, did missionary work here until he got sick with malaria and was paralyzed. He is now living with his parents' house in Antequera, Bohol