(Kandy, Sri Lanka) Fr. Shanti Abeyasingha from the Region of Colombo, celebrated his 60th anniversary of profession on Wednesday, February 2 (the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord) at Sancta Maria in Kandy, where he resides. Ten confreres from the Region gathered to celebrate with Fr. Shanti, who renewed the vows which he first professed on February 2, 1962.
Fr. Shanti was the principal celebrant of the Mass of Thanksgiving and was joined at the altar by Fr. Shiran Fonseka (Regional Superior) and Fr. Sanath Fernando (Superior of Sancta Maria).
In his homily, Fr. Shiran paid tribute to Fr. Shanti, describing his 60th anniversary of profession as “remarkable”; a recognition of Fr. Shanti’s willing response to God’s call and God’s enduring faithfulness to Fr. Shanti throughout all of his experiences and the “ups and downs” of 60 years of Religious Life. Fr. Shiran thanked Fr. Shanti for his “commitment, service and generosity to the Region over 60 years, especially as a missioner, superior, bursar, and formator”.
Drawing on his experience of 60 years, Fr Shanti shared some thoughts and reflections with the confreres, including: acknowledging his weaknesses, while always trusting in the Redeemer’s mercy – “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” He spoke of the people who have influenced and inspired him to faithfully live his vocation, such as St. Alphonsus, Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help, his beloved parents and Fr. Srilal Amaratunga (a deceased Sri Lankan confrere). He emphasised the importance for confreres to appreciate Redemptorist history, at both Congregational and unit levels.
Fr. Shanti was presented with a papal blessing honouring his 60 years. After mass, Fr. Shanti cut an anniversary cake, which was followed by a gaudeamus and celebratory lunch.
Fr Shanti is now preparing for a further celebration with the worshippers and devotees of Sancta Maria, to be held on Sunday, February 6.
David J. Hore, C.Ss.R.