As I retrospect my religious journey in the light of the Gospel, from the day I joined the Society of Divine Word (Latin: Societas Verbi Divini, abbreviated SVD, popularly called Verbites or the Divine Word Missionaries) till this day, Lord Jesus Christ’s assuring words have become the answer of my life.
I had the desire to become a priest from the days of my childhood. But this call to priesthood gradually became clear to me as I followed Jesus’ voice. I had a good encouraging support from my parents, siblings and religious people.
My Parents were real source of inspiration right from my childhood. Our parents always encouraged and motivated us (all three children) to be at the church’s service and work. At home our mother would teach us to read the Holy Bible, Catechism, pray Rosary, and do other Christian devotions.
There was nothing that my family lacked in life. From 1990 to 2013, were the unforgettable years, which my family had to undergo turmoil, struggles, and financial crises to make two ends meet. The family struggles and pain challenged my faith in God. I felt that being a priest will be of no greater support for my family. Perhaps it would have been rather good in joining the Merchant Navy to support my family. Frankly enough my father’s dream was that, I become a Chief-Officer of a Merchant Navy ship, by all means to be successful in life.
Soon after my graduation, I finished my Engineering and Navigational Pre-sea course as a requisite to become a seaman. I sailed for two contracts as a sailor in an Indian company and an American Company. I was able to get a good salary of Rs. 25,000/- per month. As a matter of fact I lacked nothing. But apparently, I was not satisfied with it.
Deep within my heart my conscience would never allow me to enjoy the status of my life. The only question that was pricking me the most is, “Are you happy with what you are? You have earned for you but what about many who don’t have anything in this world?”
I realized that one cannot serve God and Mammon at a time; hence my father’s desires were to be set apart. Yet the Lord challenged me and called me through constant reminders, while I was in Thailand, Malaysia and Iraq. Encountering at the face realities of the world such as poverty, injustice, women’s oppression, and child labour made me to leave behind the luxuries of life for the cause of my Lord.
I revealed everything to my family as what had happened to me in my second voyage and what made me to respond to the Lord’s call. It had become my ardent desire to serve God and his people as a Religious missionary priest. By this time everything was getting settled: siblings got married, brother had got a stable company to work, and father gave up his profession of being a barman; in these moments I could see joy and peace in the family which I could never thought of.
It was through the guidance of Fr. Donald D’Souza to meet the vocation promoter Fr. Manuel Antao at SVD seminary in Raia, Goa, my journey was enhanced. I joined the SVD Society in 2006.
I will be ordained on 7 May 2015. The SVD Society has appointed me for the foreign mission, and I’ll be leaving for Croatia (OES Province) in the days to come. I am grateful to the Lord that my family is blessed in a special way with peace, joy and happiness; and there is bonding of love in our larger family. My mother’s precious words that, “the Lord has called you, and he will take care of you, so you need not to worry of us,” has strengthened my vocation all the more.