It was good to be back in Kotadeniyawa, the Salesian Novitiate of the Vice Province of Sri Lanka, which was reopened on 8th July 2012 with 6 novices, after a break of three years. Due to lack of sufficient number of novices, it had been closed. This year there are six out of which four are form Guwahati Province! You may be intrigued as to how the Guwahati boys landed up in Sri Lanka as novices.
Two years ago, Fr. Joe Almeida, the then provincial of Guwahati, seeing that he had a substantial number in the last year of the aspirantate, offered some candidates the possibility of doing the prenovitiate and novitiate in Sri Lanka, where due to lack of numbers these phases of formation were languishing. Some 10 generous young men volunteered. Four of them have reached the novitiate. Another noteworthy fact is the return of the veteran Italian missionary, Fr. Joseph Giaime SDB, back to Sri Lanka after being away for a few years in Tanzania and Nigeria.
He was the first delegate of the official delegation of Sri Lanka and he had done much to stabilize formation in this island nation. He is a much loved confrere, and he is now back as the novice master, which gives a boost to the entire Vice Province. I found the novices and the staff in good spirit, and there is much hope that the resurrected novitiate give a new lease of life to the Vice Province with a steady flow of confreres. At present there are 68 confreres of whom 9 are missionaries from India and Europe. Several are in formation and studying. Sri Lanka has also sent its first missionary to the Pacific Islands. Several initiatives have also cropped up in the war-torn northern part of the island. The Vice Province is set for another leap-frog growth in the near future.
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