01 Aug 2019

Warm welcome for international priests

Despite trying to cope with the cold temperatures of an Adelaide winter, the Archdiocese’s newest international priests say they have been overwhelmed by the “warm welcome” they have received. 

Fr Lancy D’Silva CSC and Fr Santosh Pereira MSFS, both from Bangalore, arrived last month and are quickly making the transition to the Australian way of life and worship. Their arrival brings the total number of international priests – Indian and African – serving in the Archdiocese to 25.

Fr Lancy, the only priest in Adelaide from the Congregation of Holy Cross, said he was looking forward to focusing on pastoral care and “bringing people together with their faith”. 

“I told my provincial I am going to Australia with an open page and whatever comes or whatever is asked of me by the Archdiocese I am ready to do,” he said.

For the past year Fr Lancy has been on sabbatical, working as a parish administrator for St Anne parish in the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida.

Prior to that his ministries included serving as a pastor for six years in two different parishes and as an associate pastor and vocation director for 10 years. 

“In this position I was invited to different schools to give talks and organise seminars and promote vocations. I had a few recruits to the congregation of the Holy Cross in that time,” he said. 

The 47-year-old has studied extensively and holds three Bachelor degrees (education, philosophy and theology), as well as a Masters in Sociology and Masters of Science (counselling and psychotherapy). 

“I speak various languages like English, Hindu, Kannada, Konkani, Tulu, Marathi, Khasi – which are basically Indian languages,” he added. 

Raised in a “traditional Catholic family with traditional values”, Fr Lancy said he was privileged to be an altar server as a boy which helped him to “slowly develop that interest and motivation to be a priest”. 

However, it was the urgings of two of his neighbours – who were twins and had joined the Congregation the year before – that finally convinced him to follow a vocation as a priest. 

“It was back in 1988 and our family was middle class, we didn’t have a TV and no rich food…we only ate chicken and meat once a while or when there was a feast. And the twins told me, Lancy, if you join the seminary you will get to watch TV and have good food!” 

Of course, his commitment to God was strengthened through discernment and studies and in 2002 he was ordained a priest. Fr Lancy acknowledged the important role his parents played in his journey to becoming a priest.

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