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FATHER CAMILLUS FERNANDO
I'm from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an island in South Asia. Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country: 70% are Buddhists. Hinduism is the second most prevalent religion at 12%, Islam is the 3rd most dominant religion in the country at 9%, with Christianity at 7%. Christianity was brought into the country by the Portuguese. Most of the Christians live in the western coast of the island. My hometown is 100% Catholic. Even today it  remains 100% Catholic and every day the church bell rings for Angelus at 5:30 am and 6:30 pm.

I started serving Mass immediately following my First Holy Communion. Before I went to school I almost daily attended Mass and served daily Mass. I remember the priests visiting our Parish and when they asked me about my future career, I always told them I wanted to become a Priest.

I think my mom must have put this idea into my mind. She had a special devotion to our Blessed Mother and her favorite Marian prayer was the Memorare. She gave her first child the name Lourdes. The second child was myself and has given me the middle name Pathimadasa ( in Sinhala which is my Mother Tongue, meaning The Servant of Our Lady of Fatima) We had a family Rosary every day before dinner. She was very protective of me. She never allowed me to go swimming in the sea with the other boys even though the sea was only two miles from my home. As a young boy I used to say Mass at home with my 2 sisters & cousins and my younger brother was the altar boy. I had a kind of a chasuble made by mom. I used bread (roti) & tea for my mass. All the girls came wearing sari like mothers & boys dressed like . I joined the minor seminary at the age of 17 and attended college and completed my higher education at the Seminary. After completing the minor seminary program, I was sent to India with three other companions to do my philosophy. I completed my theology at the National Seminary in Sri Lanka. I was ordained a priest with five companions from the same diocese on July 12, 1980. That year 31 were ordained from different diocese and religious orders.

My first assignment was associate pastor to the second largest National Shrine in Sri Lanka. After a year I was promoted to be a pastor of a parish. Thereafter, I served in five parishes. After being a priest I was sent to India again to follow a Catechetical diploma course. later I was appointed as the diocesan and director of Catechetics. After completing my five-year term I was sent to the Philippines to do Liturgy. Then I was appointed as the Director of Liturgy of the Diocese. At that time there was an understanding in my diocese after serving 15 years we were allowed to go out of the country and work in parishes for 2 or 3 years.

After working in the diocese for 22 years I asked my Bishop permission to come to the United States. He gladly approved my request. While I was looking for a parish I contacted Father Peter Fernando who was the pastor in Enterprise. He made arrangements to have an interview over the phone with Bishop Vasa. He welcomed me to the Diocese of Baker. I'm grateful to Bishop Vasa for accepting me to this Diocese.

My first assignment was as Associate Pastor at the Cathedral in Baker City in 2004. After serving there I was assigned by Bishop Vasa as the Pastor in Vale in 2007, taking care also of the mission church in Unity.

 



 

A Prayer for Priests



Lord Jesus, you have chosen your priests from among us and sent them out to proclaim your word and to act in your name. For so great a gift to your Church, we give you praise and thanksgiving. We ask you to fill them with the fire of your love, that their ministry may reveal your presence in the church. Since they are earthen vessels, we pray that your power shines out through their weakness. In their afflictions let them never be crushed; in their doubts never despair; in temptation never be destroyed; in persecution never abandoned. Inspire them through prayer to live each day the mystery of your dying and rising. In times of weakness send them Your Holy Spirit, and help them to praise Your Heavenly Father and pray for poor sinners. By the same Holy Spirit put your word on their lips and your love in their hearts, to bring good news to the poor and healing to the broken hearted. And may the gift of Mary, your Mother, to the disciple whom you loved, be your gift to every priest. Grant that she who formed you in her human image, may form them in your divine image, by the power of your spirit, to the glory of God the Father, AMEN.


 


 

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