New seminarian: Lourdhu Raju Upputholla
Originally from India, Lourdhu Raju Upputholla is a new seminarian for the Archdiocese. He is the middle child of three to parents Prakash Rao and Santhamma who are involved in agricultural business in the state of Andhra Pradesh. He enjoys reading, cooking, fishing, cycling and walking. Lourdhu has always yearned to be a priest. Here he shares some of his spiritual journey thus far.
As a growing child with a happy upbringing I sensed a deep desire for priesthood from my primary school years onwards.
An inspiration to this desire was the faith and daily prayers of my family and the witness of many religious and priests from our village, especially the example of the Sisters of St Charles Borromeo, whom I completed my studies with up until the tenth grade.
As my studies forged ahead, my desire for discerning the priesthood became even stronger.
I got great support from my local parish priest and the school nuns when I told them that I wanted to study for the priesthood. They guided me in a spiritual way and encouraged me with their prayerful support.
My training for the priesthood began in India with a religious congregation the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who had previously come to our school to promote vocations.
It was with the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I completed my minor seminary and philosophy both in the state of Andhra Pradesh and also Kerala.
As I continued to discern my future with them, it became apparent to me that, being a religious order, their community’s apostolate was less parish based and that I felt more called to serve and work in parishes.
With spiritual direction and with the grace of God I decided that I would like to join a diocese to continue my studies for the priesthood.
I remain thankful to my formators and superiors who supported me and further recommended me to join a diocese.
While waiting to join a diocese I gained employment as a teacher and remained in contact with my local diocesan vocations director.
He had informed me that the local seminary had an excessive number of students and assured that he would let me know in time if an opening came up.
During this time of waiting and hoping I was introduced to Archbishop Christopher Prowse by a friend of mine.
At the time Archbishop Prowse was about to visit the Divine Retreat Centre in India where he was to preach to the youth.
I met the Archbishop in Kerala and kept in contact with him as I was keen to join the Archdiocese. After a period of observation and discernment, he accepted me to study.
I feel that it is a great gift from God that he has enabled me to continue my studies here in Australia and I would very much like to thank Archbishop Prowse for his gracious understanding, support and acceptance.
I would also like to thank Fr James Antony and the parish of St Joseph, Merimbula, who welcomed me when I first came to Australia late last year, and for all their good wishes with my seminary formation.
Coming to Australia has been a joyful learning experience, one that I am cherishing, and I look forward to continuing to learn about this wonderful country and its people especially in the Archdiocese.
My future aims are:
- I want to continue developing my awareness with people for a good integration.
- I wish to learn more about the Australian culture for my cross-cultural differences.
- I want to gain further knowledge in my studies.
- I want to learn the professional standards while they are offered in seminary and the Archdiocese.
- I want to learn more about the Archdiocese.
- I want to make good relationships with fellow seminarians and priests in the Archdiocese.
- Eventually I want to be a pastor who is available to meet the spiritual needs of people.
- I want to be as creative as I can in my future placements.
- I wish to show God to people as a loving father with my witness of faith and living.
I ask you to please continue to pray for me.