Fr Denardo Gnanapragas: It’s Life-Changing!
A month after his ordination to the priesthood, “life-changing” and “amazing” are the words Fr Denardo Gnanapragas used to describe his initial experience as a priest.
Joined by his friends, family and fellow clergy, Fr Gnanapragas was ordained by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban in Emmanuel cathedral.
“My ordination was really a grace-filled experience,” said Fr Gnanapragas, who hails from Good Shepherd parish in Phoenix, Durban.
“Serving the people of God and being able to celebrate Holy Mass has deepened my faith and drawn me closer to God. I find myself looking at things from a different perspective, that of a shepherd and servant of the people.”
Fr Gnanapragas was born in Durban in 1977. Growing up in Phoenix, faith played an important part of his life. His parents, the religious of Good Shepherd parish and his active participation in Church life helped to nurture his relationship with Jesus, he said.
“Through discernment and prayer, I was able to recognise the call of God in my life, and through his grace I was able to respond to the call,” he explained.
His Training & Formation
From 2003-07, Fr Gnanapragas studied for a philosophy degree at St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, near Pietermaritzburg.
While there, he joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate as a scholastic. He participated in a year-long regency programme in 2006, which saw him working at St Luke’s mission in Lupane, Zimbabwe.
In mid-2007, Fr Gnanapragas left the Oblates to take a personal break.
He then completed his studies in theology at St John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria from 2013-17.
Through the support of formators and spiritual directors, as well as participating in retreats and prayer, Fr Gnanapragas said, his vocation grew and strengthened.
Right now he is assisting the parish priest at Good Shepherd, where he was ordained to the diaconate last August, but will soon be receiving a new appointment.
“My life has changed totally,” said Fr Gnanapragas, “and I extend my deepest gratitude to my family, friends, the priests of Good Shepherd, the parish community and Cardinal Napier for all the support, guidance, love and prayers they have given me over the years.”