Archbishop Oswald Gomis, born on the 12th December 1932 to his parents in Kelaniya received his primary and secondary education from St. Pauls’ Roman Catholic Sinhala School, Waragoda, St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena and St. Joseph’s College, Maradana before he entered the Minor Seminary of St. Aloysius, Borella in 1950.
Having completed his formation for priestly ordination at St. Bernard’s Seminary, Borella, he was ordained a priest in 1958 by the Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Benjamin Cooray OMI, the then Archbishop of Colombo.
Archbishop Gomis who is well-versed in Sinhala has served as the editor of the Gnanartha Pradeepaya and the Manager of the Colombo Catholic Press during which time he brought the quality of the newspaper to greater heights.
Merely 10 years after his priestly ordination he was elevated to the sacred position of the episcopate and was first appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo in which capacity he worked for 28 long years. During this time, he was enthusiastic about the development of Catholic education and started the Branch Schools of the popular private schools in the Archdiocese. He put his heart and soul together to take Catholic education to greater heights until he was appointed the Bishop of Anuradhapura.
Having done a yeomen’s service to the people of God in the ancient city, he came back to his original home of the Archdiocese of Colombo as its Chief Pastor. He continued his work on education with much vigour and enthusiasm and established many more Branch Schools in different places in the Archdiocese which came as a fitting programme that, to this day, shelters many children for a sound Catholic education.
He is held in high esteem by the people of this country for his intellectual capacity, professionalism, holiness, simplicity and ecumenical outreach. His excellent ability to converse and write both in Sinhala and in English has taken him along the passage of being a scholarly writer who has documented many special areas that will safeguard the rights and the privileges of the Catholic people in this country.
His heart was large when it came to the matter of helping the needy people in the society. He initiated many scholarship programmes to support the education of the poor children in the country. Having recognized his educational background and the intellectual capacity, the government of Sri Lanka appointed him as the Chancellor of the University of Colombo, which post he hold to this day.
His relationship with the Buddhist clergy has paved the way for the non-Catholic brethren to recognize the true image of the Catholic Church where we embrace the people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds with brotherly affection and love.
Archbishop Gomis can be named as one of the pillars that supported the development of Catholic Education in this country. His contribution and his passion for education are unmatched. He can be rightly called as a historian, writer, humanist, journalist and moreover an inordinate educationist.