“Cessate et Cognoscite”

( A write up by Rev. Fr. Cecil Joy E. Perer Rector, Daham Sevana, 1999-2001 & 2015- to date)

This is our new Motto, and based on it, we have a new Anthem and a beautifully designed Logo. We are thankful to God almighty  for inspiring us to come up with this concept.

The young seminarians who come here after completing their minor seminary formation go through a well-thought out program of discernment and formation. The objective uppermost in our minds is to journey along with the seminarians, guiding them to discern what God wills for them at this point of time. Everything that we do here is geared towards this spiritual end. We lay more emphasis on the Spiritual and Human aspects of formation.

Here, in this luscious green salubrious surrounding, these young boys ought to stop and think. In the Minor seminaries, while going through ordinary spiritual exercises, they have been mostly concentrating on getting through the basic academic standards of the G.C.E. Ordinary and Advanced Levels. Then comes the language hurdle to clear; the N.S.E.E. or the National Seminary Entrance Examination, which is a must to pass. Many of them are exhausted with endless study and examinations; and that for many months and years. They deserve a break, and the well-deserved spiritual rest comes here at Daham Sevana, Kaluthara.

Cessate et Cognoscite is from Psalm 46,10, which says  Be still, and know I am God! Hence, the Motto chosen is Be still and Know. The boys need to be still, quiet, recollected and calm, in order to discern and to know. It cannot be done in a noisy setting where distractions are many. Daham Sevana is the ideal geographical setting to make minds serene. I have personally experienced this many times. After a heavy day’s work and teaching in Colombo, I drive back, often spent and stretched. But, no sooner I reach this beautiful hillock, I am refreshed, and the tiredness disappears.

These boys need to stop and think in order to know many things about themselves, about priesthood, about the Church, about mission, about team-work, about hard-work, about the world and our local socio-political context and many other things, in order to make a clearer genuine commitment to formation and to a life befitting a seminarian and a priest. The spiritual exercises we have designed and the group dynamics with regular serious evaluations guide and assist them immensely. They are no more burdened with too much of studies and examinations here, and the time schedule is quite different with plenty of variety, surprises, scope and adventure. Their youthfulness is challenged constantly, and their conscience is probed for sincere answers. Hence, it is good and meaningful to be guided by this Motto, Stop and Know.