Monday, 3 December 2012


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Christian Perspectives


Heritage Catholic Churches of the Kalpitiya peninsula

Santhanadeepaya by Sagara Jayasinghe is a book based on the material he had collected while carrying out a historical and architectural survey of the heritage Catholic Churches in the Kalpitiya peninsula located in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka.

The book basically deals with the architectural evolution of St. Anne’s church building and surveys the significance of architecture in the institutional growth of Catholicism. It also brings out eloquently the beginning and the growth of the Catholic faith not only within the periphery of Kalpitiya peninsula but gives how the growth was also felt and influenced in the historical set up of this tiny but very attractive island, we are modestly proud to claim as the land of our origin.

The books of this nature serve to counteract adverse reactions emerging against the presence of Christianity in General and Catholicism in particular. Hence the present book, results of hard labour serves a very valid purpose responding well to the various allegations put forward by those who want to upside down the historical settings to suit their private agenda.

The book is timely for it demands that without being bias to look at historical validity of the presence of the Catholic Church at a very crucial moment of historical past of our country. Those who harbour views against the presence of the Catholic Church easily tend to forget what Emersion Tenant had said about the Catholic Faith setting her foot in this land of ours at a very critical time of history with the arrival of the Portuguese, although the shadows of Catholic faith was visible long time before the arrival of the Portuguese.

The seeds of Catholic faith were sown from the times of Apostles in the first century, but the arrival of the Portuguese was a remarkable event if we grasp the facts that led Emersion to say what he said about the presence of Portuguese in the island. Emersion said that if not for the timely arrival of Christianity to Sri Lanka, instead of the country becoming a colony under the British Rule, the country would have come under the hands of some type of Arab nation and would have turned into an Islamic state and not a country with a Buddhist majority rule. So, it is left to the un-bias reader to absorb what the saying indicates and how the country benefited from the timely arrival of the Portuguese, though their arrival was not intentional, or well planed but sudden and unpredicted.

Thalawila St. Anne’s Shrine, the centre of devotion of the peninsula is the focal point, a historical milestone of the Catholic history of Sri Lanka and the author gives the keen reader a wealth of information through an analysis of the historical evolution of art and architecture mainly within the Kalpitiya peninsula, as St Anne’s shrine had marked 250th Jubilee of her presence in the midst of the faithful devotees and the rest, adhering to other faiths and beliefs in the Kalpitiya peninsula and the other parts of the country.

The book in a way a discourse, a discussion on the origin of Catholic Church, the historical unfolding and institutional growth within the land of small wonder.

The Charted Architect Sunnada Sagara Jayasinghe is the winner the Best Young Architect of 2009 presented by the Sri Lanka Institute of Architecture. He is a Senior lecturer attached to the Department of the Integrated Design of the Moratuwa University, a member of the National Commission on Public Worship-Colombo Diocese, an advisor on construction of Catholic Church buildings, a member of the Publishing Committee of the SLIA and is the Editor of Waasthu, a Architectural magazine published by the Institute.

Kalpitiya forms the part of Chi law Diocese of the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka and Catholic culture and customs of that peninsula is more than four centuries old. The church buildings constructed well manifest their difference is crystal clear to anyone carefully looking into their architectural aspects.

Church buildings are a living witness to the Catholic culture and her centuries old custom that draw the attention to the fact that they are unique in many aspects. The church building is a monument which recalls minding their particular culture and customs.

Santhanadeepaya is a sort of dowry given to the now generation to preserve and hand over to the next generation to keep up to the custom and culture in the generations to come and let them follow suit moving with the times but keeping their unique identity when constructing place of worship.

Santhanadeepaya will be a useful tool in the hands of the student of architecture but also contains useful information to the lay reader keen to divulge into the past in particular to understand church architecture and customs observed by the devotees down the ages and from one generation to another similar to an unbroken chain, a historical past in sequence.

Healed by the stripes of Jesus :

True testimony of God’s healing

When I accepted a kind and passionate invitation to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour on January 26 1979, it was a life-changing experience that set me off on a new path of understanding - of who God really is! This happened at a ‘Miracle Night’ service conducted by Rev. Dr. Colton Wickramaratne, at the Assembly of God Church.

Having been guided to first repent for my sins and wrong doings of the past, I began to realize the peace and relief of the heaviness that had existed in my thoughts, my heart and my spirit for numerous years. As I felt the “burdens of my life roll away” and been released to Lord Jesus, it gave way to love, joy and healing replacing the brokenness, sickness and sorrow that had robbed the dignity of my life.

There was no ‘turning back’, except to be ready to keep changing for the better and be directed by the Holy Spirit to be in the immaculate plans and thoughts of Lord Jesus.

My first change that the Lord Jesus directed me to do was to read and follow His word from the Holy Bible. In the world are many temptations, with seemingly harmless acts - but hidden craftily, are the ‘traps of the devil’ which will lead one astray. As a Vice President of the Jaycees International at that time, I was obliged to handle various projects which often tempted me to other ‘vices’ of the world, thereby contradicting and sometimes denying the truth of the Word of God.

It was decision time and my bold conviction was declared -ÓI have met the greatest JC (Jaycee) in my life. His Name is Jesus Christ - Pastor Colton would always say, “Your decision determines your Destiny”. I had no hesitation in resigning from the Jaycees!

What a great joy came over me as I placed my life in His hands, to receive healing in different ways, spiritually, physically in body and mind. To this day, I give Glory, Honour and Praise to my Living God Lord Jesus, who has steadfastly and faithfully given me the victory over matters I had little or no control of in my day-to-day living. He has proved to me that he is God - a miracle working God. He has shown me clearly what He has done to restore me, what He can continue to do if I am obedient to His Teachings and what He will do for me in the future as I trust in Lord Jesus.

In the Bible, the Scriptures say, “Those who wait upon the Lord, will renew their strength... (Isaiah 40 verse 31) and it took me a lot of patience and time to wait upon the Lord and to make a positive shift in my belief, from Fear to Faith. With God's help, I began to rebuke fear and became more convinced that my God answers Prayer, when I believe and say in Faith, that I am “Healed by the Stripes of Jesus” - as the Bible says in Isaiah 53 v 5. Daily, I looked for opportunities to pray, whenever and wherever I could, simply and specifically to pray for my need to be healed. Also giving Him thanks in advance, for the answers I expect to my Prayer requests.

My first experience of God's Divine Healing was in July 1979, when I caught a ‘chill’ in my left ear and lost my hearing. I was advised to enter the ENT Ward at the General Hospital, Colombo with no hope of medical cure except to be on a saline-drip with a strong drug called Predinisalone, for one week. It was a Saturday morning when my friend Donny Daryanani drove me to the hospital and attended to all the routine checks and formalities. We prayed and he left after the first bottle of saline was administered.

On the next day, Sunday Pastor Gerald Senn and Pastor Colton's wife Suzanne visited me in the evening and served Holy Communion to me and as they prayed, I felt the Healing take place. That night I began to hear the crows cawing and I could not believe I could hear, until the Matron and nurse on duty told me your ear is alright. This shocked the Doctors, who were simply baffled. Since then, from 1979 my left ear has worked better than my right.

Then on April 16, 1991, I had a ‘freak’ accident on the Rugger field, when I fractured my knee whilst Coaching Rugby at D S Senanayake College, Colombo. I was rushed to Asiri Hospital by the young loyal team-mates and in two days the operation was done. The medical verdict was that I will not walk again on the left leg. It was too much to bear, as my job was in jeopardy and driving a car would be impossible. Many Pastors, Church members rallied round and prayed to Lord Jesus for healing. Within six weeks the wounds had healed, plaster removed and there was life and mobility in the leg...that was considered dead! Two of the doctors who attended on me are still amazed at the recovery and Divine Healing I had! They call me the ‘Walking Miracle’ as I was back to all my normal functions, driving the car, even running!

Through much stress and anxiety over personal issues, I suddenly had a Myocardial Infarction on September 13, 1995. While in the ICU of Durdan's Hospital, Pastor Leslie Keegel and the Church prayed for my survival. On Sunday, once again at 11am they prayed earnestly and by 11.30 am I was revived, to the surprise of the medical staff there and the elders of the Church who visited me. Marvelously, God took care of me and I was healed by the Stripes of Lord Jesus, back to normal within a month, after a God-given rest!

In July 2011, I returned after a two weeks conference in Toronto, Canada which was extremely exhausting due to the extensive air travel and work during my stay there. My health conditions deteriorated and by October 26, 2011, I had a heart failure and was rushed with breathing difficulties, to the Emergency Ward at Kalubowila General Hospital. On the urgent orders of the Cardiologist, oxygen and other medical assistance was given.

Only a short span of three hours was determined to save my life, which was just three years over the biblical age of three score and ten! My wife, Pastor Ester was with me to pray and agree that God will take care of every need. Meanwhile, my Senior Pastor at King’s Revival Church, Mount Lavinia, Pastor Jerome Fernando was compassionate and concerned, with many believers in the Church praying for my quick recovery and that God will meet all my requirements in finances and medical attention. Amazingly, all my needs were met in due course.

On the 26 night at 3am, I felt a burden lift-off my chest and my breathing was back to normal, even without the oxygen. Then, in an extraordinarily pleasant dream, while I slept peacefully, I saw myself floating up and up into the clouds, very slowly, until a beautiful palace came into view. There were lovely fruit trees and flowers all around it. After about two hours of sublime peace and joy, I began to slowly return, descending and been guided by ‘someone’ up there. When I awoke, it was 6am and I felt refreshed, revived and restored.

I believe my Lord Jesus answered my prayers and that of His people and brought me back to Earth. My wife Pastor Ester, interpreted this dream saying “Lord Jesus has shown you the mansion He has prepared for you…but maybe God has brought you back to Earth in His plans, to complete more assignments, He may have for you”.

I was discharged from hospital on the third day, quite surprisingly, with the five doctors in attendance saying that my heart was functioning on 30 percent and they can do nothing more. A “heart bypass” and stents were also suggested but I decided against it for certain reasons - mainly because I was trusting in the promises of God and the Prayers of many who said “we have prayed and asked God to give you a new heart!” That my heart was healed by Lord Jesus is what I strongly believe. It is up to me to hold onto the promises of God and keep food, diet and exercise under strict control. Exercising continuously my Faith that I am healed by the Stripes of Jesus and cleansed by His Blood - is what will give me the victory!

About two weeks after, there came an incredible Prophecy from Pastor Jerome at the Healing Service held at King's Revival Church, Mt.Lavinia, on the evening of Wednesday November 14 at 6pm - I was quite weak physically and ‘struggling to survive’ with difficulties to walk (having lost 37 pounds in weight). He said, since you have asked for more time to live, God is showing me the promise He gave to King Hezekiah, another 15 years (fifteen) to complete your life. You will live and celebrate your 80 birthday at this Church KRC.

Now, I have regained weight and strength - and to date I can stand strong and boldly Praise and Thank God for His Grace and Mercy, His Healing to extend my life and give me hope and a future in His plans.

St. Mary’s church feast at Mattakkuliya

Dudley Jansz

The 151st Annual Feast of St. Mary's church, Mattakkuliya will be celebrated on December 9, said the parish priest Rev. Fr. Anton Jayanda.

This year's theme will be “Just as Mother Mary, Let's awaken our lives to the God of Love, Justice and Truth.”

The flagstaff was hoisted on Friday, November 30.

Fr. Jayananda said the Novenas will continue till December 7 at 6.30 p.m daily.

Fr. Jayananda said the faithful should turn the annual feast into an experience of salvation for us all. He called upon the faithful to attend Holy Masses and other religious services fervently and with interest.

“Let us meditate on the divine words we hear and live up to it.” Pray fervently, that through the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Mother, that the Lord would shower His blessings on all parishioners”, he said.

Vespers will be sung on Saturday, December 8 in Sinhala, Tamil and English at 7.30 p.m presided over by Rev. fr. Roshan Fernando.

The festive High Mass will be concelebrated in Sinhala and English on December 9 at 7.30 a.m.

The procession carrying the statue of Our Blessed Mother will wend its way along St.Mary's Lane, Jubilee Mawatha, Ferqueson Road, Church Road, Farm Road, Vystwyke Road, St. Mary's Road and return to the church.

Attaining heavenly bliss

A man departed from this earthly life and went up to Heaven to face his Day of Judgment. At that moment, he stood at the Gates of Paradise in the heavenly court. He was promptly asked whether he lived an unblemished and virtuous life and to give an account of his life.

At the Gate of Heaven the Angel asked: “What are your merits to receive heavenly bliss? He replied: I studied the Scriptures. “Wait,” said the Angel. “We will investigate to ascertain whether your motives

were pure or if it was for the sake obtaining honours.”

Just then, a tavern keeper drew near. He said: “I kept an open door and fed without any charge every poor man who came in to my inn,” he said. Heavenly portals were opened to him without delay. No other questions were asked.

Once upon a time, there lived a thief who in his old age was unable to ply his trade. He was reduced to beggary and was starving. There was also a wealthy man who lived at that time and he knew the thief well.

He fed him each day for rest of his life without any charge. And it happened that both died on the same day. First, it was the trial of the rich man. He was found wanting and his judgment was delayed. He was on his way to Purgatory. At the entrance, however, an Angel came hurrying to recall him. He was brought back to the Court and learned that his sentence had been reversed because the thief he had helped had stolen his list of wrongs and transgressions.

The door to happiness and heaven was swiftly opened for the rich man. It is the teaching of the Church that an individual who dies in a state of grace, can obtain heavenly bliss and eternal life in Heaven in view of the good work accomplished while he lived on earth. It is said that God will render to every man according to his deeds.

“For, the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus Our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

To be continued

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