This is asmall report from the Vocation Campan in Sirilanca by Sister Therese Elisabeth Thiare and the Novice Priyangika Fernando,From January 10 to 24/ 2013.
VOCATIONAL AND PASTORAL JOURNEY IN
ARRIVAL OF PRIYANGIKA- January 6th, 2013. She came a few days ahead of Sr.Therese Elizabeth in order to organize some schools and parishes in the diocese of Chilaw, Sri Lanka. She was able get 1000 brochures printed with the assistance of Fr. Shanil Jayawardena OMI.
ARRIVAL OF SR.THERESE ELIZABETH- January 11th, 2013. In all the places mentioned below Sr. Elizabeth spoke about the Congregation and its mission while Priyangika translated into Sinhala.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE DIOCESE OF CHILAW-
The diocese of Chilaw is situated in the northwest of Sri Lanka, about 80 kilometers north of Colombo, the capital. It is predominantly a Catholic area with a considerable percentage of Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus as well. The diocese which is situated along the costal belt has a large population of fishermen who earn their living through the sea and the lagoon. The main cultivation of the area is coconut and it can boast of very many large coconut estates too.
11TH OF JANUARY-
Visit to St. Anthony’s Church, Nainamadama. We met all the Sunday school students from age 14 to 17. This was our first effort in search of vocations in the island nation.
12TH OF JANUARY-
Visit to the Church of the Holy Family, Rajakadaluwa. There too we met all the Sunday school students from age 14 to 17 with the help of Fr. Chaminda the parish priest, who is related to Priyangika.
In the afternoon, we visited Subashini, a candidate who is seriously interested in joining the Congregation. She was recommended to Priyangika by Fr. Nalin, a professor in the National Seminary, Kandy, Sri Lanka. Sr.Therese Elizabeth was able to talk to her parents as well and get their consent to bring her to the Philippines to start her Journey.
In the evening we visited St. Sebastian’s Church, Navadankulama and met the students and teachers of Sunday school. Later in the day we participated in the silver jubilee celebration of Infant Jesus Church, Karuwalagaswewa, with the invitation of the parish priest.
13th OF JANUARY-
Rest Day. We spent the day with the family of Priyangika.
14TH OF JANUARY-
We went on a pilgrimage to “Supuwath Arana” (House of Good News), a popular retreat centre in the country. The whole family of Priyangika joined the journey and all enjoyed the company of one another.
15TH OF JANUARY-
We paid a courtesy visit to Rt. Rev. Dr. Valence Mendis, the Bishop of Chilaw. He welcomed us warmly and appreciated our presence and our mission, while extending his fullest support to all our work in Sri Lanka. In the afternoon Fr. Shanil was invited to have lunch with us as an appreciation of his support given to us.
16TH OF JANUARY-
Visit to the government school, Mundel, where Priyangika studied until her high school. Young girls of the age 15 to 18 participated in our campaign. They showed their keen interest to know our congregation.The principle was very welcoming.
17TH OF JANUARY-
Visit to Holy Family Convent, Marawila. We extend a special thanks to the Holy Family nuns as they were very welcoming and supportive. There was a huge response from the students after they heard the talks of Sr. Therese Elizabeth and Priyangika.
In the afternoon we were invited to the school of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Kadayamattai. They were still very young but we were able to plant the seed of vocation in the hearts of many.
18TH OF JANUARY-
Visit to the Holy Family Convent, Wennappuwa. It was a privilege to be able to talk to the students there, as it is one of the leading Catholic girls’ schools in the diocese. We spoke to the most seniors and many responded positively.
In the afternoon we went to St. Bernadette’s School, Chilaw. The special feature is that it is a school taught in Tamil, the language of the Tamil community.
19TH OF JANUARY-
Rest Day. Subashini, the candidate whom we met, came to Priyangika’s home to meet Sr. Elizabeth with her documents. They had a friendly chat with each other, while discussing the future arrangements of her new step.
20TH OF JANUARY-
We went to St. Mary’s Cathedral, Chilaw for a special Eucharistic Celebration. We were invited to join the welcoming of Archbishop Nicholas Thevanin, the Archbishop of Guatemala, who first heard the Lord’s call while serving in the French embassy in Sri Lanka.
After that we spoke to the Sunday school children in the age group of 16-17.
21ST OF JANUARY-
We accompanied Subashini to the embassy in Colombo to work out the visa process.
22ND OF JANUARY-
Rest Day. The day of preparation for the departure. Sr.Therese Elizabeth visited a family of one of the boy who like to join the seminary.
A SPECIAL THANKS…
We thank our Almighty God for His abundant grace showered upon us throughout our stay in Sri Lanka. We also experienced the loving care and guidance of Mary our Mother and the powerful intercession of our Foundress Bl. Emilie de Villeneuve.
We also thank all the priest and the Sisters who help us to do our vocation journey more beautiful by their prayers and support.
We remember with gratitude the parents, the brother and the sister in law of Priyangika who extended their fullest corporation in order to make our stay a fruitful and a happy one. They accommodate us very well . We wish that our visit to Sri Lanka may become a fruitful investment to our Congregation in the future.
Rev. Sr. Therese Elizabeth and Priyangika Fernando