Monday, July 9, 2012

Jesuit Retreat Center In India

Gaurav Shroff
Gaurav Shroff. Gaurav, who was raised as a westernized upper caste Hindu in India, first encountered the Catholic faith through hearing Gregorian chant at his high school in Mumbai: “The sublime music of the Mass undoubtedly assured me of God's presence; the Gregorian chants elevated my spirits, creating in me a sense of awe for the Sacred. I was instinctively drawn by the aesthetic beauty of the Eucharist and this experience filled my heart with immense joy.” A year later, he attended a Good Friday service and participated in the veneration of the cross: “As I knelt down and kissed the Cross, I vividly remember the clear voice in my heart saying to me: ‘I died for you,’ and I began to weep unashamedly, and though I did not understand what it meant, I was certain, that the Crucified Christ loved me. Then it wasn’t about music anymore, I wanted to learn more about this Jesus. Either Jesus was completely crazy or he was God.” Remarkably, Gaurav sensed a call to the priesthood before he was baptized: He began reading everything about the Catholic faith, the Bible and regularly went for Sunday Mass. 
In 1993, Gaurav went to a Jesuit retreat praying alone at night before the Blessed Sacrament. “I strongly felt the presence of the Divine, the deep love of God for me, and in the darkness, I was illuminated: My life belonged to Jesus, to know him, to love him and to serve him. This was my mission and vocation. I felt called to be a priest.” On the feast of the Assumption, 1994, Gaurav was baptized (with the blessing of his father) and then moved to the US where he earned a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies and worked in campus ministry at the University of South Carolina. 
After exploring a possible call to religious priesthood with the Paulists in Washington DC (where I originally met him) Gaurav discerned a specific call to diocesan priesthood and was accepted as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 2007. They keep Gaurav incredibly busy at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg these days but he still manages to squeeze in Called & Gifted workshops for us in English and Spanish from time to time. If all goes well, he’ll be ordained a priest for Atlanta in 2013.
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