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Pope appoints pastor of St. Mary Mother of God as Bishop of Chilaw

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Pope Francis has appointed a Fort Wayne pastor to be the next Bishop of Chilaw, Sri Lanka, the Vatican announced Wednesday.

Father Wimal Jayasuriya, who came to the United States from Sri Lanka in 2019 to further his education, began seminary at the age of 15 and was ordained as a priest in 1997, Today’s Catholic, a newspaper for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, reports. He later went to Rome where he studied canon law, the rules and regulations that govern the Catholic church and its members.

Details of Jayasuriya’s episcopal ordination have not been determined. Jayasuriya said he did not seek out being a bishop.

“I was not after this at all, because this is not fun; it’s a heavy responsibility,” Jayasuriya told Today’s Catholic. “I am responsible for me, I am responsible for the People of God, for the priests, I am responsible for their health, I am responsible for the maintenance of the diocese.”

“What you see in a bishop externally is one who presides over Mass with exuberant clothes, and he looks solemn … but behind that is a weak human being.”

While in Sri Lanka and later in Fort Wayne, Jayasuriya told Today’s Catholic he rejected many conveniences offered to him. He said he did so to be closer to the members of his congregations, many of whom he said are poor.

“Before coming to the United States, while I was in Sri Lanka, I was already living with the poor – not by appointment, but because I felt it was best to be with the people. I gave up the so-called privileges; I lived with the poor. Mainly, St. Mary’s is for the poor,” Jayasuriya told Today’s Catholic. “I wanted the people to know the pastor also lives a poor life.”

Jayasuriya told Today’s Catholic that mindset will apply to his new role as bishop.

“I’m a shepherd, and a shepherd has no favorites,”  Jayasuriya said. “Each sheep is important.” (foreign agencies)

The post Pope appoints pastor of St. Mary Mother of God as Bishop of Chilaw appeared first on DailyNews.

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