Letter from the Rector: Fr Expeditus
‘Last year – 2021 – was a year of painful concerns. The devastating third wave of COVID-19,which lasted from May to September, jeopardized the systems across our country and even evoked a huge faith crisis in some people.
Nearly two thirds of the way through the year, the Seminarians were forced to return to their home dioceses as a result of a fresh outbreak of the virus in Sri Lanka. The Seminary had to be closed abruptly on 11 May 2021.
The truth is crystal clear: the so-called rich nations and the so-called poor nations are all in the same boat trying to row to the shore. The elite and rich even within a nation are on the same level as the poorest of the poor. Those with luxurious accommodations are on the same level as those who have nowhere to lay their heads, and who may not even have a square meal a day. No doubt, the virus has indeed been a great leveller.
The formation of future Priests has been no exception. It has very much required innovative thinking, moving away from the usual, familiar comfort zones powered by traditional structures and protective in-person support systems,and monitoring has been the order of the day.
It is now our obligation to explore new avenues to cater to the demands of Priestly formation amidst challenges of COVID-19 and lockdown situations. The recurring question is: how far and how quickly can we accept and adapt to the formidable challenges posed by the Pandemic situation? A reviewed commitment with effort, resiliency, and the skill set we are capable of is a must’.
Making time to celebrate
‘We rejoice, notwithstanding the huge concern and sacrifices that has become the order of the day. We deeply appreciate and esteem the seminarians who responded with hearts full of generosity and goodwill to take up responsibilities as Priests of the Holy Mother, the Church.
With the bountiful grace of God, we celebrated 26 Ordinations for six Dioceses -the Archdiocese of Colombo, and the Dioceses of Mannar, Ratnapura, Kandy, Kurunegala, Chilaw – and six Ordinations for Religious Congregations.
Our Theme for 2021 is “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to his purpose”(Rom 8:28).
Alongside the confusion, uncertainty, pain, turmoil and tears, there can be many other ways in which the Pandemic period brings the opportunity to look through the eyes of faith.
For a Christian who passes through the catastrophes in life with faith, God turns everything for our good. His love and compassion cannot be comprehended by us, his creatures. God is with us in this time of suffering and misery and He, for sure, will turn everything for our good. Let us have the patience to see all things work together for our benefit’.
Life at Our Lady of Lanka Seminary
Set on the hillside of the mountains, the Seminary is surrounded by lush greenery and the air is filled with the sounds of birds and crickets.The seminary tries to grow as much of its own food as it can, and rears pigs, cows, goats, and chickens. Local people have been employed by the seminary to help with the farming and have lived on the seminary land all their lives.
In Sri Lanka, the Catholic Church is well respected for its service to the population, and particularly for its role in providing education. All the first-year students at the Seminary teach nursery school children as part of their outreach.
Besides their spiritual formation and prayer, the students have ample opportunity to take part in drama, sport and other enrichment activities. We loved this film of the Brothers’ Christmas carol service:
Message from a student
The Grace of our Lord, the Redeeming love of Christ and the Sanctifying gift of the Holy Spirit be with you!
Everyone in this world cannot survive without support from another. From the beginning, God blessed and showered His bountiful grace on the wealthy to support and take care of the poor. Similarly, as benefactors of our seminary, sponsors are willingly supporting us financially and most importantly spiritually, as God intended for humanity.
A seminary and seminarians have several essential and fundamental needs to be fulfilled. Basic needs of human family: protection, nourishment and healthcare are common to our Seminary too. Hence, a sponsors’ financial support enables us to live peacefully, protectively under one roof. It is because of your support we eat and nourish ourselves thrice a day. How can we forget or devalue a sponsor’s financial support?
One of the evident realities that this pandemic taught every human being is that money will not always protect and save us. As fervent believers in God we, as a National Seminary, are convinced that prayer does marvels in one’s life. Whenever human efforts are insufficient God intervenes in human frailties to perform miracles. Spiritual support for us, in this journey of priesthood, is remarkably valuable to strengthen us, encourage us, and to purify us in our endeavours.
We, as seminarians, are delighted when we know that there is someone who always prays for each one of us.
Sponsors are one among our extended family, bonded with love, compassion and care. As one family you pray for us, support us; and we too pray for you each day, for your family and health. Thus: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26).