Seminarian filled with a ‘Spirit of service’

Tasmania’s newest seminarian to study at Corpus Christi seminary, Melbourne, is Sri-Lankan born Kanishka Perera, 26.

Having spent most of his life in Dankotuwa, a town in the north-western province of Sri Lanka, Kanishka admits that when he first heard of Tasmania, he didn’t know where it was. Arriving in Australia on April 30, 2019, he has been humbled by the welcome he has received.

“I’ve been to other countries like Italy and the UK … but with my experience there I never thought Australians were going to be so welcoming. They are so loving, they are very welcoming,” he said.

Although new to Australia, Kanishka is not new to seminary life, as he spent three years with the monastic community the Sylvestro-Benedictines in Sri Lanka.

The seeds of his vocation were planted during a one-year internship which he spent serving an orphanage in the war-torn district of Mannar in India. This experience filled him with the love of a “spirit of service”. 

“Those children [have] a lot of difficulties. They don’t have their parents, they don’t have anything … But then how joyful they were being taken care of by the De La Salle brothers. The fact that you have nothing lets you be filled with so many blessings. I think that is why I initially thought I should become a monk because monks are people who have nothing much, so they have ample space in themselves to be filled with God’s blessings,” he said.

However, eventually he felt called out of the community to serve in an unknown land.

“I think priesthood is the best way because it has no boundaries in reaching to people,” he said.

“If you are placed in a family … before attending to whatever you have in your mind the family comes first. But when you are a priest it’s a free way to reach to anybody and everybody in the same way.

“I think priesthood is the best option to utilise what I have in mind, to be joyful and to teach others to be joyful in knowing Christ, encountering Christ.”