Oblate Highlights: Nishan Priyadarshana Angodage
As a child, Nishan Priyadarshana Angodage was clear about one thing – he wanted to be a priest. What religion was a little more fuzzy.
Nishan grew up in Buttala, Sri Lanka, a village where more than 99-percent of the people are Buddhists. His mother is Buddhist and she would take him to pray at a Buddhist temple. He also attended a Buddhist high school. Nishan’s father is Catholic. He and his family would take the young Nishan to the local church, Jesus Christ the Liberator, which is run by the Oblates. The parish is very small, about 50 families, and most Masses would have only about 10-20 people in attendance.
“My father and grandmother provided me a fine Christian witness and helped to form me as a good Catholic,” said Nishan. “Even though my mother is a Buddhist she always encouraged me to grow in my faith.”
After the tenth grade, Nishan joined the Oblates’ St. Joseph’s Juniorate in Kohuwala where he continued his studies and examined his calling to the Catholic priesthood. In 2015 he enrolled in the Oblate pre-novitiate where he first met Oblates from other countries. Just five months later, he joined an Oblate community on the other side of the world, as a member of the Oblate Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois. “During the Novitiate year I was able to strengthen my friendship with Jesus and to embrace the charism of my congregation,” said Nishan.
Today Nishan is studying for the priesthood at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. His path to the priesthood has been very different than his classmates. But he and his fellow Oblate seminarians share one overriding characteristic – a dedication to serving people most in need of healing and hope.
As a boy, Nishan attended Jesus Christ the Liberator Church. In a few years, he will be an Oblate priest, bringing the liberating presence of Jesus Christ to the poor.
Story by Mike Viola, from Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate.