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Annual feast of Most Precious Blood at Pamunugama church

Church of Most Precious Blood at Pamunugama

ANNUAL FEAST: Pamunugama parish celebrates the annual feast of the Most Precious Blood on July 01 for the 139th year in succession since its inauguration in 1868 by Rev. Fr. Sylvester Papili (OSB) who took over the then parish of Pamunugama, comprising 15 churches, as his very first parish as a foreign Missionary.

Pamunugama, happens to be the only Shrine in Sri Lanka and in this part of Asia dedicated to the Most Precious Blood and blessed with the ancient devotion, one of the oldest in the Catholic church. Rev. Fr. Papili joined the Benedictine Order of the Sylvestrian Congregation and in 1865 was ordained a priest.

In the same year he was sent to Sri Lanka as a foreign missionary and was assigned the parish of Pamunugama in 1866.

Fulfilling his aspiration as a student-priest, he founded the confraternity of the Most Precious Blood in the Pamunugama parish and through the assistance of Bishop Hilarian Sillani, the Vicar Apostolic of the Southern Diocese of the country, he affiliated this confraternity to the ‘Prima Primaria’ the Arch Confraternity of the Most Precious Blood of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood in Rome.

Through this affiliation, the confraternity of the Most Precious Blood of Pamunugama became entitled to all special Papal concessions to this Arch Confraternity and all its affiliates the world over, to celebrate the feast of Most Precious Blood as a liturgical feast on first Sunday in July annually. This year on July 01 we celebrate this historic feast for the 139th year in succession from its inception in 1868.

This Confraternity (now union) of the Most Precious Blood which was silent for some time, has since been revived and revitalised and every effort is being made to restore it to its former historical position. On every first Friday of the month, Holy Hour in honour of the Most Precious Blood is held at St. Joseph’s church, Pamunugama from 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. On other Fridays, special Precious Blood devotion is held at the same time in the church.


Historical Ketchimala Mosque, Beruwela marks Bukhari Grand Feast

“Rathu Palliya” at First Cross Street, Colombo
Pic by Mahinda Vithanachchi.

Grand Feast: The Annual Bukhari Muslim Feast at the Beruwela Sea-Side Mosque known as Ketchimala will be held on June 23 and 24. The Grand Thammam (Final) will take place on Sunday 24 at 9.30 a.m. The Bukkari Muslim recital, sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) commenced over 110 years by His Holiness Most Respected His Eminence Haji Fakirul Muqqadam Ash Sheik Ba-Fakir Ba Alavi Mowlana.

The highlight of the proceedings of this recital was relayed live from Beruwela by then Radio Ceylon in 1951 and has been relayed by S.L.B.C. Muslim Service.

This was considered as the first Muslim outstation broadcasting by Radio Ceylon. It’s almost 56 years, since then.

The Ziyarath Ceremony with the recital of Rathibul Haddad takes place immediately after Isha Prayer at the Shrine of Ash Sheik Ashraff Voliullah on Saturday the 23rd June 2007 at 8 p.m.

What is Ketchimala?

Ketchimala. I may state the mosque is situated in the hill tops, which is covered West, South and East side by the silent sea.

This description is in the famous book “Silk Route” by Ibn Batura has history dating back to the 14th century when the original Muslim settlers settled down at Beruwela. There was the Custom premises adjoining this land and presently occupied by Fisheries Harbour Corporation.

Visit of Sir Arthur Gordon, Governor

It was in the year 1882, when the then Governor of Ceylon Sir Arthur Gordon was on his official visit to Galle on Horse Carriage. The Horses miraculously on its own, changed the usual route at Beruwela and took the present Customs Road and knelt down at the foot step leading to the Shrine of Ash Sheik Ashraf Voliullah and refused to move there from.

The Governor, Sir Arthur Gordon, was so taken an felt that there is some spiritual significance attached to this Ketchimala premises.

He then made inquiries from those gathered there to learn in was the TOMB of His Holiness Ash Sheik Ashraf Voliullah. The Governor immediately instructed his secretary who too was in the official tour to make arrangements to donate that partition of the land as a gift from His Majesty King George of England.

The instruction was given by his secretary to the Government Agent of Kalutara to give the land to the elder brother of His Holiness.Ash Sheik Mohommed Abdullah Sheik Abdul Cader was made the posser of this land and later this land was transferred to His Holiness Sheik Mohommed Abdullah Alim Hadjiar. The original of this historic document is available with his family.

The present Mosque took its shape from the assistance from well-wishers and the beginning of the Bukhari Muslim recital.

This feast is patronised by Muslims from all parts of the Island. They arrive by private vehicles and public transport approximating with over 50 thousand muslims gathering at Beruwela on these two days.

Law and order, traffic arrangements are taken care of by the Beruwela Police. A team from St. John’s Ambulance is to attend to the needs of the people on this day.


Infant Jesus Church - Imbulgoda

Nestled amidst an ancient coconut estate lies,

A church dedicated to Infant Jesus

Perhaps the parishioners Cries Heard in Heaven.

A donor stretched out his hand,

Most willingly, ungrudgingly gifted for a Church a part of his land

The Great God aware of his generous act,

Has not forgotten him, but blesses him much, A true fact

Now He’s away in Heaven, watching us from above

His gift has helped us.

Thanks and praises sing,

Together under one roof, To Jesus Christ our lord and King -

The church that was still, for two decades or more

Now much life lingers within it again we know,

God’s chosen shepherd among us now,

His flock to lead to Heaven is doing his best somehow,

Parishioners rich, poor, young, old;

Listen to my clarion call,

Let’s all join hands and follow him;

lest we fall

On the correct path his flock to guide,

All that he is doing - Let’s not hide,

Organizing seminars, visiting sick, blessing marriages,

spiritual director, what more?

From dawn to dusk as busy as a bee:

Yet says ‘No’.

On receiving invitations; from who ever it be

Rich poor, high or low or it many be you or me,

Wake up, wake up to you all I say

Ask God to bless our shepherd today and everyday

Let the road be rough and


Foot it bravery strong or weary

“No matter what may come to pass

Gods precious word still stands

The universe is held in tact

Within his mighty hands.”


Hijaab, a sign of modesty and progress

Modesty: Many years ago, a US Christian Missionary, introduced to me at my friend’s home in London, questioned why Muslim women were subjugated in Islam. Taken aback by her rather untimely outburst before any pleasantries can be exchanged, I can only shake my head and then smile at her ignorance. But, she was not alone.

The West routinely accuses Islam of oppressing women, and the issue of Hijaab (head and body covering) is at the forefront of this propaganda harassment. In many countries all over the world, Muslims wearing Islamic dress face problems in educational institutions, at work, in the court system, and on the streets.

In some nations, most notably in Turkey, the right to wear Islamic attire is limited by the State, and those who dress Islamically can be labelled as ‘fundamentalists’ and deprived of rights that other citizens enjoy.

A prime example is Nuray Canan Bezirgan. She was a medical student at

Istanbul University. She was sentenced to six months in jail because she wore a head-scarf to her exams. The sentence was later commuted to a fine. It’s like telling a Buddhist Monk to take off the robe off every time he visits a public building or risk imprisonment.

What is troubling is that Ms. Bezirgans religious rights were denied in a country where the Muslims are a majority. This denial by the Turkish Governments liberal secularists is so profound that they are willing to push aside their own basic principle of individual freedom to stave off the imaginary ‘oppressive’ influences of Islam.

So, why is Hijaab so controversial to the West? I believe that there are two main factors among a plethora of reasons. First, it is ignorance of anything Islamic. Secondly, it is institutionalized stereotyping.

Before explaining the Islamic position, many readers are probably unaware that the subject of Hijaab is nothing new to either Christians or Judaism. It is well-known that Catholic Nuns have been covering their heads for many centuries as a sign of piety, but that is not all.

St. Paul in the New Testament made some very interesting statements about the veil: “And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head - it is just as though her head were shaved.

If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head.” (I Corinthians 11:3-10).

From the above biblical quote, it is evident that Islam did not invent the head cover. However, Islam did endorse it.

The Holy Quran urges the believing men and women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty and then urges the believing women to extend their head covers to cover the neck and the bosom: “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms....” (Holy Quran 24:30, 31).

The Holy Quran is quite clear that the veil is essential for modesty, but the following verse explains further: “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their bodies (when outside) so that they should be

known and not molested” (Holy Quran 33:59). This is the whole point, modesty (when in public) is prescribed to protect women from molestation or simply, modesty is protection.

Thus, the only purpose of the veil in Islam is protection. The Islamic veil, unlike the veil of the Christian tradition, is not a sign of man’s authority over woman nor is it a sign of woman’s subjection to man. The Islamic philosophy is that prevention is better than cure or it is better to be safe than sorry.

It is incredible to know nothing strikes fear in the hearts of Western man like a piece of cloth on a woman’s head (especially if you are a Muslim). In North America and Europe, a great part of this role revolves around sex and the aura of sexuality.

Any relationship involving men and women has some kind of sexual undertone. When a woman covers herself she is rejecting that role, she is saying sex will have nothing to do with her public life.

A female doctor, writer, teacher or care-giver may be appreciated in the work environment for her skill, but is still basically seen as ‘just a woman’. But put her in Hijaab so that what makes her a woman cannot be appraised and all of a sudden you are dealing with a person.

It is a radical idea not liked by many. Progressiveness for women is unfortunately still defined by how much they are willing to reveal. The more power women seem to gain, the more compelled they are to take off their clothes. This paradox is at the root of the confusion faced by the Western women.

They are supposed to be strong, independent and assertive yet, at the same time, they are made slaves to an ideal physical image which cannot be achieved by the vast majority of women. This duality is a marketable commodity. One has just to witness the pageantries of the Miss Universe contest to see how women are being demeaned to mere chattels.

They shamefully parade like cows with broken hip bones on an auction block, and all in the name of liberation! Unfortunately, we are fighting an uphill battle to counter highly seductive rhetoric of specious reasoning against Hijaab in the media today.

Muslims, on the other hand, are lax in their effort to counter these propagandas with beautiful teachings of Islam. We need to progress from such backward thinking of treating women as anything but a means to titillate the baser instinct of men. Wearing Hijaab is a good start.


St. Anthony’s Church, Soysapura - built on Buddhists and Christians’ unity

UNITY: Feast of St. Anthony of Patna, following the Pentecost Sunday takes pride of place in the Catholic calendar and plays a very important role in moulding the lives of the Catholics. St. Anthony has a special place among Catholics all over the world.

Born to an upper clan family in Lisbon in Portugal on August 15, 1195 he was named ‘Ferdinand Bullion’ and he chose to be a servant of the God from his very young days and entered Franciscan Order and died young in 1231.

His service to God will be remembered for among the Catholics as St. Anthony stood for the truth and bought the people the love of God. Renowned as ‘Saint of the Poor’ or ‘Saint of the finder of the lost’ he has left an indelible name not only among the Christian but also among faithful belonging to diverse religion in his country and the beyond.

Soysapura housing complex, Moratuwa is considered to be one of the pioneer housing schemes in the island.

The Catholics in the scheme had to go to the church of ‘Queen of Angels’ at Rawathawatta for their religious obligations.

As the number of Catholics increased the inhabitants of the Soysapura housing complex had made pleas to the Parish Priest of the Rawathawatta mission to provide them with a suitable place of worship.

Accordingly Rev. Fr. Edward Reval Pulle the then Parish Priest decided to construct a small church dedicated to St. Anthony at the housing complex premises. On March 12, 1994 Fr. Reval placed a statue in a spacious place. Little did he think that this place would one day become regular place of worship.

On 10th April 1994 Fr. Reval laid the foundation and converted the surrounding area into a place of worship for the increasing crowd of devotees.

Fr. Sri Lal Fonseka and Fr. Ranjith Madurawala developed the church with the help of the devotees and today one can see a very charming church in the Soysapura Housing Scheme.

Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando visited the church and addressing the gathering said that he was privileged to open such a charming church like this.

He declared open the church by blessing this church and thereafter unveiling a plaque. Comparing with other churches the present development of this church within a short period is not very astonishing.

This is the result of a few people who have gathered and work unitedly and hard in the improvement of this church.

They spend their valuable time to develop this place.

The effort taken by the present parish priest Rev. Fr. Tyronne Perera to strengthen the unity of the church community is praiseworthy. Lot of activities are implemented in order to strengthen their faith in god.

He has also decided to complete the final stage construction activities of the church in Soysa flats. The ‘midnight service’ held on behalf of the feast of Pentecost as well as the ‘Healing Service’ held on every Friday has nourished the spiritual lift of parishioners.

The meaningful sermons given by Rev. Fr. Malaka has inspired so many believers in conducting their lives.

The annual feast of this church which can be termed a symbol of unity is celebrated with the patronage of the people of Soysapura and neighbouring towns.

The members of the church committee hopes to celebrate the annual feast this year on a grand scale.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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