Deborah Gyapong: Fr. Hezuk Shroff's testimony

Fr. Hezuk Shroff's testimony


I posted pictures of his ordination here. This is an excerpt of the profile I did no his faith journey to the Catholic Church and the priesthood.


OTTAWA - When Father Hezuk Shroff thinks of his journey from the Zoroastrian faith to the Catholic Church, he thinks of the journey of the Magi.

Oral tradition holds that the Magi were Zoroastrian priests, Shroff said in an interview after his recent ordination.

"The Zoroastrian priests took a tremendous long journey across a desert, a physical pilgrimage and an interior spiritual pilgrimage, and knelt before the Christ child in the manger," he said.

"I was raised in that faith, and little by little God was leading me towards the fullness of revelation of Christ. That was my pilgrimage through the desert to the stable of Bethlehem."

Born in Calcutta, India, in 1971, Shroff came to Canada in 1975 with parents and younger sister. They practised the ancient Zoroastrian faith that can be traced back to Persia and the Prophet Zoroaster.

A dualistic religion that believes in principles of good and evil, light and darkness, the Zoroastrian faith stresses "good thoughts, good words and good deeds," he said.

Though his family was not especially religious, they became involved in Ottawa's small Zoroastrian community. An introspective and shy child, he found something beautiful in religion.

But his personal encounter with God did not come until he was studying biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal. His roommate, a "fervent practising Christian, a Pentecostal, introduced me to the Gospel, the message of the Christian faith and the person of Jesus," he said.

SATURDAY MASS

Shroff attended a nondenominational Christian church for two years before he accompanied a Catholic friend to the Saturday afternoon Mass at St. Patrick's Basilica in Montreal.

"I had a very deep encounter with God during the Mass," he said. "I left there thinking to myself, this is where I'm supposed to be."

He began reading on his own, books like the Confessions of St. Augustine, and Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. The Eucharist - "that God comes to us especially in the Eucharist" - and the Virgin Mary were the two strongest attractions, he said.

In his study of Church history, he began to realize the Catholic Church was doing the same things the early Christian Church did 2,000 years ago.

Shroff did not tell his Christian friends he was becoming Catholic, though he told some of the leaders to tell them he was going to be attending another church.

A BIBLE CHURCH

"So long as it's a Bible church," they told him.

He wanted to say, "Yes it is, this is the Church that gave us the Bible," but he wanted to leave on peaceful terms.

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