Much has been said of Fr. Mark the priest, the scholar, the counsellor and teacher. I wish to speak of Fr. Mark, the man.
What I remember best about him is the constant twinkle in his eye, no matter what.
I first met him 25 years ago when I took my truant brother for counselling.
He spoke to him privately and told me, “My dear, there’s nothing wrong with him except that all his buttons have been put wrong. Once the buttons are adjusted, he’ll be fine!” (a metaphor I still find useful when dealing with people).
He used to visit us in our up-country plantation and those visits proved to be great fun.
He had a way of putting people at ease and was as comfortable prattling to my toddler as conducting a high-brow seminar. As Kipling would say, 'he could walk with kings, but not lose the common touch’.
He was the chaplain/counsellor of the Peradeniya University, thus it goes without saying that he was particularly good with youth.
My husband and his brothers were his students at St. Aloysius College, Galle and they found him to be one of the ‘nicer’ teachers (high praise coming from high-spirited boys who usually resented their teachers).
Everyone was ‘handsome’ or ‘beautiful’ in his benevolent eyes. May the turf lie softly upon your grave and may the angels in heaven smile benignly on you!
Priyanthie de Silva