I am Francis Salasiar. I was born on 14-7-1981 in a village called N. Poolampatti, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. I have two brothers and I was born as a second child to my parents. I hail from a middle class, Roman Catholic family. Our main occupation is farming, so my father and my brothers are farmers. We have got some lands for cultivation and we mainly cultivate groundnut, flowers, and paddy. I grew up in a joint family set up.
Many people have played a role in my journey towards priesthood. To begin with, my mother, who was very instrumental and laid a foundation for my vocation. Even though I lived in a catholic family the idea of priesthood did not appear until I finished grade 12. As I grew up, I had the desire to work in the banking sector and I had prepared myself for that by taking appropriate courses. It all changed when one of my friends who was interested in becoming a priest, called me to go with him to a camp. Until the day I went to the camp, I did not know about the congregation of Holy Cross but only my friend knew, and he got the invitation letter.
After the first camp, I was selected and my friend who took me was not selected. After the Holy Cross camp, I too had the opportunity to attend the diocesan camp as well. I was selected to join my local diocese as well. But I chose Holy Cross over my local diocese and I am happy that I made that choice. I joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in the year 1999.
Throughout my formation, I had various opportunities to meet different kinds of people with different backgrounds, cultures, and social status. This helped me to appreciate the uniqueness of various cultures and religious practices. I spent my formation years in different places, having varied experiences.
In the year 2000, I was sent to the North-Eastern part of India for the pre-Novitiate program. This was a wonderful year that gave me an opportunity to learn about the mission and the desire to become a priest. And in 2001-04, I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree in Bangalore. And in the year 2004-05, I completed the Novitiate program in Yercaud. After my Novitiate, I was sent for my philosophical studies at Pune which I completed in 2007. For my regency program, I worked in our school at Trichy, as a teacher as well as looking after the students at our Holy Cross Formation house. It is at this moment of my life that I was chosen to come to Canada to do my theological studies Toronto.
I reached Toronto on May 16, 2008 and continued my studies in Theology. I was finally professed on December 05 and I completed M. Div. in 2011 and was ordained on December 03, 2011. Then I went on to complete my STM and began to work as the Associate Pastor at St. Ignatius Loyola parish, Mississauga from Aug of 2012, as part of the diocese of Toronto. In 2015, I had the chance to work in our own Holy Cross parish, which we took over at the same time. Presently, I am the Pastor at St. Raphael parish, Burlington, Ontario.
Father Francis Salasiar, CSC