Asia News is highlighting the remarkable story of one of our Called & Gifted teachers, 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.
We love Gaurav’s vision for the priesthood:
“Evangelization and the vocation of the laity will be the central passion of my ministry as a diocesan priest. I see my future role as someone who leads, sanctifies, teaches the laity, not as passive recipients”, I shall be “someone who calls out their gifts, talents, charisms, so that the Christ's lay faithful can be equipped to bring the Gospel to the world, and share in the Church's mission.”
“I hope, through my calling, to proclaim the Love of Christ Crucified to the people and to bring our people to connect with Jesus Christ, to get to know Him in a deep, intimate relationship,” for “he is the source of all love and happiness.”