A passion for bringing Christ to others
By Josh Low
Living the charism of the Passionists to its fullest in Tasmania is the aim of two newly arrived priests of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Hailing from India and Tanzania respectively, Fr Sony Marsilin Kannanaikal CP and Fr Dominic Samamba CP recently arrived in Hobart and will serve as assistant priests at St Joseph’s Parish.
Ordained a priest in 2006 and serving in India, while also a missionary to Myanmar, as well as Brisbane in 2016, this is Fr Sony’s first appointment to a parish.
“I am still adapting to parish life – I previously served as chaplain in a prison and also as a retreat director, so this is my first experience of a parish,” Fr Sony said.
Ordained in 2011 in Tanzania, Fr Dominic arrived in Hobart after spending the last four years with the Passionists in Marrickville, NSW.
“For me, it’s like an ongoing ministry because in Sydney I was doing the same, visiting hospitals and nursing homes,” he said.
Though Fr Sony and Fr Dominic have different experiences in their ministry, the one thing both share is the community life and charism of the Passionists.
Called to preach Christ crucified, reaching out to the needy and suffering, helping them in their journey to unite their sufferings with Christ is what brings meaning to their vocation.
“Whenever I go to visit to the sick, I actually feel at home because that is our ministry,” Fr Dominic said.
“The crucified of today are the needy, those whom we visit in hospitals, those who are sick, in nursing homes, that is a preaching Christ crucified to the crucified of today.”
Fr Dominic hopes that through his presence and his ministry, others may be encouraged in their own faith lives.
“Wherever I am, people should recognise something in me and hopefully through that, they may be ready to live their faith.”
Fr Sony said being present in each moment with those in need was at the heart of what they do.
“Just like Fr Dominic said, when I go to a hospital, I see the dying there or the sick there and think of how I can bring Christ to them – It’s like that in [the Sacrament of Reconciliation] too.
“It’s about preaching the suffering Christ in the lives of others, and at the same time encouraging them to look to the Resurrection, bringing them the joy of the Gospel in the process,” he said.
He added that his focus was to plant seeds of faith in those he encounters.
“We may have the harvest after a few months, a few years I don’t know. Our job here is to just plant the seeds, and the rest of it is up to God.”