Saturday, February 18, 2017

First Salesian from Sikkim ordained priest

The first Salesian priest from northeastern state of Sikkim concluded the season of priestly ordinations of the Salesians of Don Bosco in south Asia becoming 61st deacon to be ordained.
Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling-Sikkim on Feb11 ordained priest Deacon Stephen Biswakarma at a solemn ceremony at Christ the King Church Pakyong, East Sikkim district.

Over 40 priests including 22 Salesians from Kolkata, Siliguri, Mirik, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Nepal joined two bishops and some 500 plus faithful of the parish and diocese for the ordination of the first priest from the first parish established in Sikkim in 1952.

“Father Biswakarma is the first alumnus of 65 year old St Xavier`s School, the first Catholic school established in the state of Sikkim, to be ordained priest,” said Principal Father Francis Banerjee.

Father Banerjee did not hesitate to add that “over the years several boys from the school had joined various seminaries, but no one persevered and got ordained as Fr Biswakarma did.”

The ordaining Bishop Lepcha reminded the faithful and the newly ordained priest that “there is no priesthood without Holy Eucharist.”

33 year old Father Biswakarma who lost his father, mother, eldest brother, sister-in-law and sister during the period of his training to priesthood and religious life since he joined the Salesian aspirantate in 1998, had several emotionally charged moments during the ordination ceremony.

Among the many people present at the event were his former principal at Pakyong school and current Apostolic Administrator of Kathmandu Bishop Paul Simick, former salesian provincial Father John Berger and Vice-Provincial of Kolkata, Dr Joseph Pauria.

According to the official statistics reported for this formation cycle 2016-2017 in the Rome-based Salesian News Agency, a total of 61 priestly ordinations were celebrated in 10 of 11 Indian Provinces and the Vice-Province of Sri Lanka. Only the Dimapur province in northeast India had no new priests.

The tally of priestly ordinations remains as follows: Mumbai (5); Calcutta (6); Guwahati (3); Hyderabad (4); Bangalore (9); Chennai (9); New Delhi (6); Panjim (2); Shillong (5); Trichy (9); and Colombo (3).

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