On 2 December 2023, the Sant’Anselmo community celebrated the diaconal ordination of Dom Kokila Fernando, OSB, in an ordination Mass presided over by Cardinal Louis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Pro-Prefect of the Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches of the Dicastery for Evangelization and Gran Chancellor of the Pontifical University Urbaniana.
Rev. Deacon Dom Kokila Fernando OSB was born in 1994 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After his primary, secondary and advanced years of schooling at Saint Sebastian’s College Moratuwa, he entered Saint Sylvester’s Monastery, “Monte Fano”, Ampitiya in 2013, which is the motherhouse of the Sri Lankan conventual priory of the Sylvestrine Benedictine Congregation. He was initiated as a postulant on 21 March 2014 and then was sent to the novitiate at Saint Benedict’s Monastery, “Adisham”, in July of that same year. After completing the novitiate, he professed monastic vows as a junior monk and was clothed with the monastic habit on 18 July 2015.
He began his philosophical studies at the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka-Ampitiya in the same year and after completing a semester he was sent for higher studies at the University of Colombo, where he completed a four-year bachelor’s degree programme with a specialization in History, obtaining a Second-Class (Upper-Division) Honors. Then he resumed his philosophical studies in the National Seminary and completed the Diploma in Philosophy at the National Seminary in 2021.
In the same year, he was sent to Rome to commence theological studies at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo and he is about to complete the bachelor’s degree in theology. On 8 September 2022 he made his Solemn Profession at the Monastery of Saint Sylvester in Fabriano, Italy. He received the Ministry of Lector on 17 November 2022 and the Ministry of Acolyte on 7 December 2022 at the primatial abbey of Sant’Anselmo, Rome.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, born in 1957, is a prominent Filipino prelate currently serving as the Pro-Prefect for the Section of Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization and the President of the Interdicasterial Commission for Consecrated Religious. He held the position of the 32nd Archbishop of Manila from 2011 to 2019.
Often referred to as the “Asian Francis,” Tagle is recognized for his engagement in social issues in the Philippines, particularly focused on aiding the poor while upholding the Catholic Church’s stance against abortion, contraception, and what he terms “practical atheism.”
Born into a devout Catholic family, Tagle pursued theological studies, obtaining a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of America. Ordained as a priest in 1982, he held various positions, including serving as Bishop of Imus from 2001 to 2011. Tagle has been an active member of the Roman Curia, serving in multiple congregations and councils. In 2012, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI, becoming the second-youngest cardinal at the time. His leadership roles extended to his appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 2019 and subsequently being named Pro-Prefect for the Section of Evangelization under the Dicastery for Evangelization in 2022.
The Sant’Anselmo community would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the new deacon and our thanks to all of his relatives, friends and confreres who made our celebration a truly memorable occasion. Special thanks especially to Cardinal Louis Antonio Gokim Tagle for his important presence at our Mass and his good cheer at our reception.