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Army completes Madhu Church repairs

MADHU: Major General Jagath Jayasuriya Commander, Security Forces Headquarters-Wanni yesterday following directives by the Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, formally requested Mannar Bishop Rt Rev. Dr Rayappu Joseph to resume the custody of the most sacred Madhu Shrine on total completion of Army repairs and renovation.

Rt Rev Dr Rayappu Joseph who used the Madhu Road for the first time to reach the holy Madhu Shrine yesterday after it was cleared of terrorists and their explosive devises was conducted to the Shrine premises by Major General Jayasuriya where His Lordship had a tour of close inspection of the inner chambers and surrounding premises.

The holy Shrine area fell to the Army in April this year. The Army Engineer troops undertook the challenge of repairs to the holy church at a cost of Rs.1.5 million, allocated from the Army budget.

Last Tuesday (22) the holy ‘Our Lady of Madhu’ was brought back to the Mannar Bishop House after an informal discussion Major General Jagath Jayasuriya had with Rt Rev. Dr Rayappu Joseph on July 21.

Major General Jayasuriya told the Bishop that supplies of water, electricity and other sanitary facilities to the holy premises are now in order to meet the requirements of the devotees who are expected to attend the annual feast in August.

Wanni Commander also pointed out that Army Engineer troops have by now de-mined and cleared one square km of land surrounding the Shrine of landmines, booby traps and other explosives, left buried by Tiger terrorists when they retreated after inflicting damages on the church building some months back.

Major General Jayasuriya also gave an assurance to the Bishop that his troops would not serve in the reserve area to the premises in uniforms or with arms once the holy statue is returned and feast organized.

Rt Rev. Dr Rayappu Joseph, pleased with the speedy renovation of the premises, in turn has expressed the hope that the holy statue could be consecrated again in the near future after sending a team of Catholic priests in advance to the venue for prior administrative work.

 

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