When I came back after the sabbatical in 2009, the administration of our delegation thought it would be good for me to be in Itami, so that I could get myself involved in different works of the archdiocese of Osaka. Also, since we decided to build a “center” (new rectory) in Itami where some Oblates reside in community and work out of this place, I was assigned there.
It happened that in January 2010 when I went to live in Itami the archbishop of Osaka was looking for a priest to help two Christian communities. Knowing that team ministry is very common in Osaka especially in Kobe deanery, I was willing to help the bishop and did so BUT without a proper contract.
For the last two years (2010-2012) I have been helping Christian communities in Sanda & Sasayama. These are communities that were founded by the Paris missionary fathers, whose good work has been carried out by different priests, religious and laity for the last 60 years! I was happy to be part of that, though it was only for a short period of time.
A year ago the archbishop of Osaka asked me whether I would be willing to function as an “administrator” in Sanda. Also, since the present rectory in Sanda was not livable, he suggested that I live in an apartment close to the church. This did not sound like a good idea to me, because I am more for team ministry. I must also say that I wanted to become a religious because of community, and so do not want to live alone in an apartment.
I shared my thoughts and feelings with the council, and the council decided to write a letter to the bishop requesting him to find a replacement for me. From this spring a new team has been formed to take care of Sanda and Sasayama.
As a priest I never had any parish experience in Sri Lanka. For two years after my ordination I was involved in the ministry to the sick, after which I came to Japan. It is here in Japan that I really experienced parish ministry. Now for almost 12 years I have been doing it as a full timer in 3 different places. I like parish ministry and I enjoy doing it. But now I feel that I should give more time to social ministries (homeless, prisoners, migrants etc.), which according to my observation is given less importance by priests and religious.
I’m already part of the social welfare team of the archdiocese of Osaka, and I will help the diocese in that field. From this April I became a member of the team in charge of Kobe central block, and will assist Christian communities on Sundays and two days during the week. I am also thinking of giving my time to vocation work.
For me this is a new beginning. I do not know what God has in store for me, but trusting in His providence I go forward.