Serving in the Jungles of Sri Lanka
Working in a jungle parish where he had "nowhere to lay his head," Sri Lankan priest Fr. Francis Assisi knows what he wants to learn at Santa Croce in order to serve his people.
Fr. Francis Assisi, who came to Santa Croce from Sri Lanka, was ordained in 2007. Both he and his diocese want to emphasize that his dream of studying in Rome would not have been possible without the help of benefactors who bear the costs of his training and living expenses, and how grateful they are for such support.
My parents have been blessed by God and it is truly thanks to them that I am a priest. They encouraged me from childhood to obey the Lord and they sowed in my heart the seed of a priestly vocation, so I will always be immensely grateful to them. We are a family of seven children, and we are simple but very happy.
God always comes first in our family. We pray the rosary every day at 7:00 in the evening and we often volunteer at our local parish. Needless to say, the fundamental pillar of the family has been my mother, whom we all respect and love very much. Without her I would not be here, nor would my brothers have their strong faith. My father died from cancer just a month after my ordination in 2007.
Following my ordination I spent three years as an assistant pastor in various parishes. In 2010, my bishop appointed me as the pastor of a remote church in the middle of the jungle. Those were very hard years because there was nothing: no parsonage, no electricity, no running water.
It was truly as when the Lord said: "He had nowhere to lay his head." The small sacristy of the parish church was my room. However, my situation was good compared to the lives of my parishioners, so I cannot complain.
After everything that I experienced there, I realize how great the Lord is. He is able to build his Church in the most difficult of conditions, and can take a priest from the jungle of Sri Lanka and allow him to advance his theological training in Rome.
Thanks to this opportunity of studying at Santa Croce, I hope to someday be able to better help my people, who are always so happy in their faith, despite their precarious situation