Two new deacons ordained on their path to priesthood

Decrease font size
Increase font size
Print this page
Email to friend
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Home > Media > News > Two new deacons ordained on their path to priesthood
Two new deacons ordained on their path to priesthood

Tasmania’s newest transitional deacons are filled with faith and hope as they look forward to their priestly ordination next year.

Hundreds of people filled the historic Church of the Apostles in Launceston on September 21 to share in the celebration as Archbishop Julian ordained Chathura Silva and Steven Smith to the diaconate. Both are seminarians at Corpus Christi College, Victoria.

Deacon Silva, 28, grew up in Sri Lanka, and looks back on his spiritual journey with great joy.

“It’s been a great journey of ups and downs, frustrations and joys, praying and discerning what my path is to be,” he said just prior to the ordination.

“It’s not a journey on my own. Along the way, many people have contributed to my journey: my family, relatives, friends and a few priests. When I look back I feel great joy.”
Deacon Silva thought about becoming a priest when he was a child and gradually realised the depth of his calling and commitment. The ordination to the diaconate was a key step on that spiritual journey.

“Our rector of the seminary says that ordination to the diaconate is more important than the ordination to the priesthood because as transitional deacons we already make our commitment to the service of the Lord,” he said.

“For me, the diaconate means to be a servant of the Eucharistic table, the word of God and of the community.” 
Deacon Silva said he had learned much from his parish placement in Launceston. 

“We learn the theory in the seminary and the practice in the parish,” he said. “I love Launceston. Parishioners are friendly and welcoming. Since it is a large parish, you see every aspect of parish life and learn many things. One thing I most enjoyed was schools. The principals and staff are friendly and supportive. And I’m grateful to Launceston parishioners, [Launceston parish priest] Fr Mark [Freeman] and Fr Christopher Kasturi for supporting me throughout the placement.”

Deacon Silva enjoys all sports, including soccer, basketball and football. Like Deacon Steven Smith, he is also an avid Hawthorn supporter.

Deacon Smith, 35, hails from the Kingston-Channel area, south of Hobart. He is the son of Michael and Christine Smith. (Michael was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate at St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, in June 2018.) He attended St Aloysius, Kingston; Dominic College, Glenorchy; and Guilford Young College, Hobart.

A turning point on Deacon Smith’s journey to priesthood was a multidenominational ministry course he took in Hobart a few years ago, and an associated study tour to Egypt, Israel and Jordan, that he has described as ‘a wake-up call’ to do something meaningful and worthwhile with his life.

“After time with prayer and discernment, and having talked to a few people attached to the Church … the original call to the priesthood really started to reverberate,” he said during a parish placement at Mersey Leven.

Now ordained, he says it feels “like it’s the right thing”.
“It’s now what my life means and what God has called me to,” Deacon Smith said.

“As a deacon you’re called to serve. And I think it’s very important that we take that step first, because as a priest, we serve others and not ourselves,” he said.

“It’s part of who I am now, so it informs everything I do.”
Deacon Smith says he is grateful for the many people who have played a part in his vocational journey – including those who he has never met, but have prayed for him.

“It means a lot and I’m very grateful, because it’s prayer that helps us.”

During their ordination to the diaconate, Archbishop Julian told the men that their calling lives in the deepest realms of their being.

“It is there, in your heart, that your vocation will be realised,” Archbishop Julian said.

“God has taken possession of your heart, and today this is confirmed by receiving the first level of the Sacrament of Orders. You are raised to the rank of deacon in the Church…
“We are in the right place in our relationship with Christ when we acknowledge that we are sinners. From that right place Christ will be able to use you as His instrument of mercy, of healing, of salvation.”

Fr Mark Freeman said that the last ordination to the diaconate in Launceston was that of Paul Crowe, as a permanent deacon, seven years ago. (Deacon Crowe has since moved to Adelaide to live.)

“Let’s surround these two young men with our prayers and encouragement,” Fr Mark said. “Hopefully their commitment will inspire all of us to renew our own commitment to discipleship.”