Priest shares joy of ordination in home town
By Wendy Shaw
After a long delay, Fr Chathura Silva returned to Sri Lanka to celebrate his ordination to the priesthood with family and friends.
The Launceston Parish assistant priest, 31, was pleased to finally share the joy of his ordination with the community in his hometown in a coastal area about 90 minutes from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
COVID-19 travel restrictions meant Fr Chathura’s family were unable to attend his ordination at the Church of the Apostles in Launceston on 31 July, 2020.
Hundreds of people attended a procession through the streets and a Mass of Thanksgiving at St Sebastian Church, Kalutara.
“The Mass of Thanksgiving was organised by the parish community and it was really good,” Fr Chathura said.
“The interesting part was there were people there who have been with me on this journey – my Sunday School teachers and friends from the neighbourhood, and the previous priest as well as my family.
“It was so good to see them and to go to the place where I went to Mass when I was an altar server as a kid.
“These are beautiful memories and it was so exciting to stand there now as a priest.”
Fr Chathura, now back in Launceston, added that the thanksgiving Mass was also a special moment for his family – dad Nevile Silva, mum Kumari Dasa, brothers Shehan and Nikil and sister Pinky – who had supported him on his faith journey.
Fr Chathura also thanked the Archdiocese of Hobart’s Vicar General, Fr Shammi Perera, who is also from Sri Lanka, for attending, and Launceston Parish Priest Fr Mark Freeman for his kind words which were read out at the Mass.
But his first trip back to Sr Lanka in five years was tinged with sadness as he witnessed the unrest in his homeland which has seen widespread protests over the political and economic situation.
“Issues in Sri Lanka have accelerated in the past month. The president has gone but there are still other issues especially with inflation and political system in need of an overhaul,” Fr Chathura said.
“The real situation is we don’t have enough money in the country to buy food, medicine, petrol – anything.”
Fr Chathura said he was appreciative of the interest, support and prayers from people around the world in support of Sri Lanka.
As Fr Chathura marked the second anniversary of his ordination, Fr Mark Freeman said: “His energy and enthusiasm are a blessing for our parish. May he know God’s love and blessing as he continues to deepen his commitment as a priest among us.”