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Pope names new Bishop for Timor Leste’s Diocese of Baucau

Father Leandro Maria Alves, the newly elected bishop (left), and Cardinal Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva of Dili (right) at the official announcement on April 26 in Dili (Photo credit: Arquidiocese Metropolitana de Dili)

Pope Francis appointed Father Leandro Maria Alves as the new Bishop of the Bacau Diocese in Timor Leste. 

Cardinal Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva of Dili made the Vatican's official announcement at the Archdiocese of Dili’s Palace on April 26. 

 "I have the great honor and joy to inform you that His Holiness Pope Francis, due to the late death of Dom Basilio do Nascimento and after in-depth research and thoughtful reflection, has appointed Your Reverence, Father Leandro Maria Alves, a new Diocesan Bishop of Baucau," Cardinal Virgilio read in the letter signed by Monsenhor Marco Sprizzi, nuncio to Timor Leste. 

In the letter, Pope Francis also commended Father Leandro for his willingness to serve as Pastor of the Diocese of Baucau with apostolic generosity and pastoral zeal. He prayed for God's providence for the newly appointed Bishop.

"God's grace will not fail him in this divine ministry, with the Holy Spirit's assistance and communion with the entire Holy Catholic Church," the message said. 

Father Leandro was born in Ermera on May 10, 1974. In 1999–2001, he attended a minor seminary in Balidi, Timor-Leste, after studying philosophy and theology from 1995–1998 at Widya Mandira Kupang, Indonesia.

From 2001 to 2004, he studied theology at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Evora Faculty of Theology at the Catholic University of Portugal. Between 2014 and 2017, he earned a Bachelor of Dogmatic Theology from Urban Pontifical University-Rome.

From 2002–2003, he served as a formator at Saint Peter and Paul Major Seminary in Fatumeta, Dili. In 2006, he was ordained as a priest. From 2009 to 2014, he served as director of the St. Paul of the Diocese of Dili Foundation.

He is the Executive Secretary of the Timor Episcopal Conference (CET) from 2018 to 2023 and the parish minister of Catedral Dili.

Baucau is the second major city in East Timor, located 122 kilometers east of the capital, Dili. It is the site of one of East Timor's three bishoprics, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baucau. It was established on November 30, 1996, when the Dili bishoprics separated. Dom Basilio do Nascimento was the first Bishop.

The crowd gathered to hear the proclamation of the new Bishop at the Archdiocese Palace on April 26 in Dili. (Photo Credit: Arquidiocese Metropolitana de Dili)

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