Pope Francis in his document Amoris Letitia says that “family bonds are essential for reinforcing healthy self-esteem. It is important for families to be part of the seminary process and priestly life, since they help to reaffirm these and to keep them well grounded in reality” (art. 203).
In keeping abreast with this teaching we, the SSS Scholasticate community of Sri Lanka, through the initiative of Rev. Fr. Justin Chawkan sss, the Director of Scholastics, were given a wonderful opportunity to visit with our families, reminding us and our parents of the importance of having parents involved in being part of the seminary formation. These visits in the presence of the Very Rev. Fr. Eugenio Barbosa Martins sss, the Superior General of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, commenced on September 18th 2018. There can be no doubt that his presence greatly enhanced our visits due to his grace and agreeable and impressive company. His visit with us indeed reminded us that “a shepherd should know the smell of the sheep”. We all felt at home with him, as he truly brought to us the living spirit of our Holy Founder, St. Peter Julian Eymard.
It was also a very significant occasion for us to have our Director and the scholastics, including Bros. Louis and Emilio, our African Scholastics, encounter personally, each member of our own families, sharing in the experience of their joys and sorrows. Our union with each of our parents made this initiation very strong. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, the smile of our parents, their generous hospitality, simplicity and warm welcome, touched our hearts, giving us more strength to walk on our journey towards priesthood. Our parents too made it a point to express their gratitude to Fr. General, our Director and all of us for making their day such a special one.
It is noteworthy, that we made use of the free time in between the family visits to accompany Fr. General to a well-known Catholic Meditation Center in Seeduwa. This was followed by an inter-cultural fellowship high tea at the Novitiate of the Marist Brothers in Tudella, where we were very happy to meet with the novices from eight different nationalities. We are deeply indebted, to Very Rev. Fr. General, for allocating his precious time, to be with us as the Vicar of Fr. Eymard.
SSS Brothers Lakshan and Asiri