Approaches to Religious Formation at the National Seminary of Sri Lanka: From Transnational Networks to Fieldwork Experience

ICES_Seminar_19 May 2016



For more than one hundred years the Catholic National Seminary in Ampitya has trained religious vocations from Sri Lanka and overseas. As candidates to the priesthood enter the seminary at a very young age, many seean urgent need to help seminarians get a sense of the everyday realities of the country and the world.In this exploratory paper, I examine how different religious congregations and Sri Lankan dioceses endeavor to shape religious vocations beyond the strictly academic aspects of priestly formation provided by theCatholic National Seminary. The presentation will reflect some initial findings of my ongoing fieldwork amongst professors and students to the priesthood in Sri Lanka.

Dr Bernardo Brown is a Post-doctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is currently working on an ethnographic book project that focuses on the formation of Catholic priests at the National Seminary of Sri Lanka. His earlier work on return migration has appeared inContemporary South Asia(2014) andEthnography(2015) and a related project on Sri Lankan Catholicism during the ethnic conflict inSouth Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies(2015). Forthcoming is the publication of a volume co-edited with Brenda Yeoh,Asian Migrants and Religious Experience: Transnational Religious Mobility(Amsterdam University Press). He received a MA from the New School for Social Research and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University. Before joining ARI he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden.


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