Terrence de Silva, a seminarian for the Diocese of Lexington, was recently interviewed for On the Hill, a quarterly print magazine produced by Saint Meinrad Seminary. His interview is reproduced below with permission.

I felt the calling of God from a very young age. When I was an altar boy, when I was an active member of the Young Christian Students’ Movement, and when I was working with priests and sisters for the community, I wished I could be a priest. After many years of being involved in different vocations, the time came for me to embark on the journey to be a priest.

Growing up in a strong Catholic family and studying at a private Catholic school influenced me to join the seminary. The work I did for churches in Sri Lanka and my involvement in building a church for the Sri Lankans in Kuwait obviously had an impact on me to join the seminary.

My first involvement with the Church of Kuwait was arranging and leading prayer services for the Sri Lankans during the time there was no priest to say Mass, from 2000 to 2006. After the Sri Lankan priest arrived in 2006, he appointed me to teach catechism to those who wished to be converted.

From 2006 until I left Kuwait to join the seminary in 2010, I catechized 24 people, including one family who converted to Catholicism from Buddhism.

This work influenced me to become an ordained priest, so that one day I will be able to celebrate the Masses, teach the faith and spread the Good News.

I was born and brought up in Sri Lanka. I did all my studies in Sri Lanka, and I completed a bachelor’s degree in mathematics special and a master’s degree in industrial mathematics. I worked as a mathematics instructor at the University of Colombo. I worked as an administrative assistant at Alghanim Industries in Kuwait just before joining the seminary.
My favorite saint is St. John Mary Vianney. He was not the best in terms of his academics, yet he was the best in spirituality, which ultimately led him to become the patron saint of priests. God selected him to be an example to all the priests.

As humans, we are weak in the eyes of God. Therefore I like the verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. “But he (Jesus) has answered me (St. Paul), ‘My grace is enough for you: for power is at full strength in weakness.’ It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me; and that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and distress for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.”

This reminds me that no matter how weak I am, the grace of God gives me the necessary power to do His will.

I like to watch religious movies. I like to watch basketball games. I also like to listen to slow music. Whenever I have free time, I read books related to my studies.
The fourfold formation. The formation enables me to learn not only about myself, but about others, too, most importantly about God. When I look back on my progress, I clearly see an improvement, which strengthens my belief in God and His works. This also encourages me to teach others about my faith.
Learning to accommodate myself in a new culture in a new country. However, my background in mathematics provided me with greater impetus to search and find solutions to my problems. I have come to realize that praying and following the Word of the Lord can help me overcome any challenges that I face.
The best advice I’ve heard is to make use of this time in the seminary in learning and growing spiritually. This is because once we are ordained as priests, our services will be dedicated to the needs of others.
I would like to advise those who are considering priesthood or religious life that God will lead them to the best vocation for them. If God wishes one to be a priest, He will create that opportunity when the time is right. It is important to pray and spend time reflecting on one’s commitment. Do not worry about your weaknesses, because God knows your strengths. God has a task for you to accomplish and God has given you the necessary talents to fulfill that.

terrence