Many people will not know where is Timor Leste – and where is Oecussi?
Oecussi is an enclave of Timor Leste (East Timor) located within the territory of West Timor, which is part of Indonesia as shown on this map. And the only access without crossing Indonesian territory is by ferry or small plane from Dili.
There is a statue on the beach near the mouth of the Tono River which commemorates the first arrival of Portuguese explorers at this site in 1515. After which a settlement was established to trade machetes and iron goods, including firearms, for the valuable sandalwood found growing in the interior.
A statue in the town of Pante Macassar celebrates the Portuguese arrival in Timor. The first permanent Catholic presence in Timor occurred in 1641 when the Dominican priest Father Jacinto sailed from Larantuka and converted the Queen of Mena and the nearby Kings of Ambeno and Amanuban to Christianity.
The Portuguese Church in Pante Macassar is solidly built, needs some maintenance on the outside, but is clean and tidy inside.
The Sunday service was conducted by a young Dominican priest who the next day officiated at the blessing of some sandalwood plants that were part of a re-forestation program.