Reverend Father Mark Perera, of the Society of Jesus, passed away on August 23, 2010. He was 81 years.
He was the second son of Maharage Marcelline Perera, a former principal of Calvary School Galle, and Paththage Josephine Perera, a teacher. Marcelline (brother of Rev. Fr. Moses Perera) moved from Dehiyagatha, Ja-Ela, to Kaluwella, Galle, as his intention was to give his children a good education.
Fr. Mark had four brothers and two sisters: the eldest, Prof. Wilfred Perera, MRCOG (Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists); Daisy Pathirana, who taught at St. Aloysius College, Galle, for more than 35 years; Rita Perera, founder of MarcSri Kalutara, a centre to care for and shelter the poor and the abandoned; Newton, a leading chartered accountant; Joe Perera, a former High Court judge who died 20 years ago under tragic circumstances, and the youngest, Kitty, a doctor of medicine (MACC) .
Father Mark was a distinguished student of St. Aloysius’ College, Galle.
Answering the Almighty’s call, he joined the Jesuit seminary to become a priest. He studied philosophy in Bombay, India, and proceeded to Naples, Italy, and was ordained a priest in 1961. He subsequently obtained a masters in chemistry at St. Louis University, Missouri, in the US.
He also qualified in counselling. He returned to Sri Lanka after being away from his motherland for 16 years.
He taught chemistry at St. Aloysius’ College, Galle, initially in English and later in Sinhala as well. Although he did not master Sinhala, he mastered the art of conveying ideas effectively in Sinhala.
He was a student counsellor par excellence. He was later appointed student counsellor for the University of Peradeniya, where he remained for more than a decade. Many came to him for guidance, and Fr. Mark always had time for them. He gave them solace and peace of mind.
Father Mark loved music. The music maestro Sunil Santha was a first cousin.He was confined to a wheel chair for more than a year, but he remained cheerful throughout.
Father Mark’s last rites and burial were conducted at Lewella, Kandy, amidst a large gathering of his Jesuit brethren, students, friends and relatives.
May he rest in peace, and may his good work continue.