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Most Rev. Malcolm Ranjith new Archbishop of Colombo

The new Colombo Archbishop nominated Most. Rev. Dr. Malcolm Ranjith, a staunch supporter in promoting inter-faith dialogue in Sri Lanka will assume as the Head of the Catholic Church, Sri Lanka at a installation ceremony to be held at St. Lucia's Cathedral on August 5. The new Archbishop Most Rev. Malcolm Ranjith will be the fourth Archbishop beginning from the times of late His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooary OMI, who was the first Sri Lankan to assume the See of the Archdiocese of Colombo.

Archbishop Ranjith strongly believed that the inter-faith dialogue as a social dialogue could help to eliminate potential causes of tensions and disagreements between the religious and ethnic groups in the country.

Dialogue

"Dialogue is vital and fundamental and as Catholics we must celebrate the richness of the Word of God incarnate in our life, families and communities," he said.


Most. Rev. Dr. Malcolm Ranjith

Rt. Rev. Dr. Malcolm Ranjith was born as the only son to Patabendige Don William, a Station Master by profession and to Hettiarachchige Mary Winifred, on November 15, 1947 at Polgahawela. He was baptised at the Church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of Lourdes, at Polgahawela. Ranjanee (dead), Shalani and Monin (overseas) are his three sisters. Shalini, his second sister is married to Bertram Stanislaus Fernando, the Coordinator to the President on Christian Affairs.

As a youngster he received his primary education at St. Andrew's Vidyalaya Mutuwal, at De La Salle College, Mutuwal and at St. Benedict's College, Kotahena.

He then at the age of 18 entered St. Aloysius Minor Seminary at Borella on March 15, 1965. Chilaw Bishop Emeritus Rt. Rev. Dr. Franck Marcus Fernando, who was the Auxiliary to His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray OMI, prior to taking office of the Chilaw See following the retirement of the erudite, scholarly first Sinhala Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Edmund Peiris OMI, was the Rector of the Minor Seminary and he was sent there with the recommendation of late Rev.Fr. H.Don Anslem.

With the moving of Fr. Franck Marcus as the Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo, Fr. Nicholas Marcus assumed the office of the Rector who was later appointed as the Colombo Archbishop, while serving as a member of the teaching staff at the National Seminary of Our Lady of Sri Lanka, Kandy. He is now residing at Emmaus at Tewatte, having retired from active service.

Archbishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Oswald Gomis while serving as a member of the Minor Seminary staff and also serving the diocese as the Editor of Gnanartha Pradeepaya, the Catholic Weekly, became the Spiritual Director of Ranjith. It is heartening to note that Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith; His spiritual son is to assume the See which he was serving after having come from Anuradhapura Diocese rendering service for about five years in the North Central Province.

The Archbishop nominated joined the team of youth who went to spend a sort of a postulancy period at Emard House, Haputale in 1966, and after a brief stay there entered the National Seminary of Our Lady of Sri Lanka, on June 4, 1966 to continue his sacerdotal studies.

With the introduction of a Regency Period for Rev. Brothers preparing for Priestly Ministry, a sort of a period to seriously think of their vocation and make a firm decision on their vocation to abide by the decision taken, Archbishop nominated, availed the opportunity and went to work as a Field Officer at the SEDEC and served also as a Teacher, joining the teaching staff of St. Thomas College, Colombo, utilising the Regency period.

Privileged

Then he was sent to Rome by late Thomas Cardinal Cooray OMI to continue his Theological and Sacred Scripture studies at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome.

It is claimed that Archbishop nominated was privileged to study under the guidance of the present Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.

He was ordained a Priest of God in St. Peter's Basilica on June 26, 1975 in Rome by late Pope Paul VI, who was the first Pope to visit Sri Lanka on December 4, 1970, on his way back to Rome after attending the Eucharistic Rally in Mumbai and offered the Holy Mass at the Katunayake International Airport, Colombo.

After he obtained his B.Th., he spent three more years in Rome studying for his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. Rev.Fr. Malcolm Ranjith came back to the country in 1978 and assumed the duties as an Assistant Parish Priest at the Kapungoda Church, Pamunugama.

Then he joined the Dhaham Sevana, Palathota, Kalutara 1980. Daham Sevana was formerly the 'Mont Eden', the Sacred Heart Novitiate of the Novices of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Experience

He also served as the National Director of Pontifical Mission Societies and he revived the Society of the Holy Childhood and, as Diocesan Coordinator for Human Development, he introduced bold initiatives in areas such as housing, fisheries and various self-employment projects.

Initiating the new project he had said: "love for the liturgy and love for the poor...has been the compass of my life as a priest."

While serving the People of God in his capacity as the Director of "Seth Sarana", the then Papal Nuncio Fancois Bacque in Colombo, made the announcement that Fr. Malcolm has been nominated an Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo with Titular Bishop of Cabarsussi.

*The announcement was made on June 17, 1991 and the Episcopal Consecration was held on August 31,1991 at the National Basilica, Tewatte Ragama which was presided by the then Colombo Archbishop Nicholas Marcus Fernando. The ceremony was attended by the Members of the Sri Lanka Catholic Bishops Conference.

With the creation of the new diocese of Ratnapura, coming within the Sabaragamuwa Province and being nominated to the new Diocese on November 2, 1995. He assumed duties as the first Bishop of Ratnapura on January 5, 1996.

The priests and laymen who have had the opportunity to come under his supervision as the Spiritual Head pay tribute to His vision for the diocese he served and whose labour has brought about the benefits they enjoy today.

Rome was closely watching His work as the Shepherd of the newly created diocese of Ratnapura and being satisfied the way he fulfilled duties like the faithful servant we come across in the Sacred Scriptures, recognising his capacity to work and being faithful to small things assigned with commitment. He was called to Rome for greater things and resigned from the Ratnapura Diocese in 2001 to assume duties in the Vatican as the Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and the President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, one of the key departments, coming directly under Holy Father. The Fidei supervises Missions in Asian Region, Africa and Latin America.

While serving in this capacity on April 29, 2004 Pope John Paul II, elevating him to the ranks of Archbishop appointed him the Titular Archbishop of Umbriatico and received his diplomatic assignment as the Papal Nuncio Jakarta to serve as Vatican Ambassador to Indonesia, East Timor and Leste.

He thus became the first Sri Lankan priest to hold a Vatican Diplomatic post. From there he went to Rome to assume duties as Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which post he held at the time of the announcement on June 16, 2009, that He has been appointed as the Archbishop of Colombo.

The new Archbishop, a multi linguist is able to converse in ten languages such as Italian, German, French, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, English, Sinhala and Tamil.


Mary, Queen of May

"Hail full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee!" said the Angel Gabriel. (Luke 1-28) and Mary responded, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1-38)

Holy Mother the Church, has down the ages, dedicated the month of May, in honour of Mary, the most favoured and the holiest of all God's creatures. We too honour Mary, the Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God.

When the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, was about to come into this world for the expressed purpose of redeeming mankind, God Abba, foresaw the sinlessness of Mary and fittingly bestowed upon her the unique privilege of being conceived without sin and with the fullness of time, honoured above all women, by choosing her to be the Mother of His Divine Son.

The Scriptures say that God sent the Archangel Gabriel to announce to Mary, a maiden of Nazareth, that she was predestined from eternity to be the mother of Jesus. "Hail Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee," said the Angel (Luke 1-28) and Mary responded, "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word."

(Luke 1-38).

Mary, the purest of virgins, said to the angel, in utter surprise, "How shall this be done? because I know no man," to which the angel replied. "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee and the Holy One that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1 34-35). Christ, who was conceived in the chaste womb of Mary, by the power of God, had therefore, a human mother, but not a human father.

We honour Mary because God Himself honoured and exhalted her and through her the whole human race. Mary did not in the least aspire to be exhalted and honoured of being the Mother of God. Her wish was only to be the handmaid of the Massiah, But God loved her all the more for her chastity and humility. We too love and praise her because she was pure, holy and yet so lowly.

The world's greatest musicians, painters, sculptors and writers found in Mary, to draw our their inspiration for their creations. Titan's 'Assumption', Corregio's 'Holy Night, Michangeli's 'Pieta' and the celebrated 'Ave Maria' by both Schubert and Gounod and Worthsworth's 'The Virgin', are just a few instances to show the love and esteem in which Mary was held.

'Hail Mary! May all generations and the entire world call you 'Blessed' as God Himself greeted you through the Angelic Messenger.'


St. Paul's Seminary, Marawila celebrates 69th anniversary


Rev. Fr. Jayantha Perera, Director of the Seminary

The 69th annual feast of St. Paul's Seminary, Marawila will be held on June 29. This seminary is situated on the Colombo-Puttalam highway at the 37th mile post, close to the Marawila town. This seminary was started by the former Bishop of Chilaw Most Rev. Dr. Edmund Peiris in 1940 with 50 students on roll, at Marawila, which was a remote area during that period. He established this seminary with the idea of increasing the number priests, said the Administrative Director, Very Rev. Fr. Jayantha Perera.


St. Paul’s Seminary, Marawila

Most Rev. Dr. Edmund Peiris has dedicatedly served this seminary for 34 years. Thereafter he went on retirement. Then Very Rev. Dr. Frank Marcus Fernando, former Bishop of Chilaw succeeded him. He also did a great service to this seminary and went on retirement. Most Rev. Dr. Valence Mendis is presently serving this seminary. Now there are ninety students studying at this seminary. Pope Benedict the XVI after hearing of the good deeds done in this seminary has declared the year 2008 as a Catholic year. He has also declared from 2009 June up to 2010 as a year of Priesthood.

A Polish Catholic priest named Fr. Marius Evicalif who has been sent by Pope Benedict the XVI to a seminary in a town called Padua to train novices who wish to join the priesthood has provided a generator, toilet facilities and educational equipment valued at Rs. 20 lakhs to this seminary.

The High Mass will be celebrated by Dr. Valance Mendis, Bishop of Chilaw at 7 a.m.


Rev. Sr. Mary Lenita AC:

Golden Jubilee Celebration

Sr. Mary Lenita of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation celebrated the 50th Anniversary of her life in the service of the Lord, at All Saints' Church, Borella on June 20.

Born in Bolawatte, she is the fifth of eight children of a catholic family in the area. She received her education at Bolawatte Balika M. Vidyalaya, Christ King Vidyalaya at Pannipitiya and later at the Holy Cross College, Gampaha.

Following the footsteps of her eldest brother, Rev. Father Bertram Dabrera - the well-known "Novena Priest" of All Saints' Church, Borella. Sister Lenita gave up the comforts of a wealthy lay-life, in order to dedicate her years to the Master's Service and she proceeded to mangalore, India to be admitted to the order of the Apostolic Carmel.

Her religious profession in the Carmel Order was also the start of her profession in the years indeed a rare coincidence.

She started her career as a Teacher at Holy Cross College, Gampaha and since had the opportunity of serving in Kelaniya, Dematagoda, Badulla, Marawila, Borella, Chilaw, Maggona and Maharagama. She joined the staff of all Saints (for the second time) in 1975 and in 1979, she was appointed Principal of the school.

Her next appointment was to Chilaw Carmel Balika M. Vidyalaya as Principal for seven years until her retirement in 1996. She has served at Maggona as Superior.

Also at Apostolic Carmel School, Maharagama as Superior and Principal (2001-2004).

Her evening time of life she spends at Faustina Villa, Nainamadama helping the underprivileged children with social reforms.


Weekly Devotion:

Understanding through trials and temptations

I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

Most of us in Sri Lanka are of a dependant mentality. We like someone to provide and look after us, even when we are quite fit for work and capable of bringing in some remuneration to our family, as many of us are educated. If our wife is earning or someone is well off in our family we tend to sponge on them, we easily couch ourselves and expect some sort of support, even though we are fit as a fiddle. Our culture and upbringing has something to do with it. When living abroad, one of the first things one learns is to do away with this habit, as it gives the impression that one is lazy and inefficient.

So, in a way I do not have to explain what the word 'dependence' means to us Sri Lankans. Many cultures have to be taught how to depend as they only know how not to depend on people but be independent.

When it comes to people I think independence is not a good thing - why should anyone support you when you are perfectly capable of looking after yourself? This only encourages laziness and the Bible encourages us to work and look after our families. The Bible also teaches us to depend on God for everything - please understand this correctly, not to depend and cling to people but to be independent of people but depend on God for everything. We in Sri Lanka have to therefore transfer this dependency on people to God. It is important to learn how to do this and willfully make a decision of living a life depending on God alone. I can assure you that Paul did not reach this understanding of dependence on Christ overnight. I am sure he had to go through a lot of trials, temptations, persecutions, penance and long suffering to arrive at this stage. Inevitably, God has to strip us off everything we trust and place our security upon Him and rebuild us, making Christ as the foundation of our faith, security, desire and our life itself.

This rebuilding process takes time as Christ's gentle and humble nature has to take control of our arrogant and stubborn mentality - the stiff - necked group of people that we are, submission and yielding to conform ourselves to be pliable in His hands can become prolonged as was struggle and kick to give into God's way of thinking. For some, it is quick, but for others, it is prolonged - depending on how submissive we are to God's plan and purpose. To let go of our worldly nature and to become totally dependent on Christ's leading of our lives alone will bring about this knowledge - 'that in any situation I can be happy as God is in control of my life'.

Then you can boldly say as the Apostle Paul says here - "I can truly be content in any and every situation - whether with food or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want". May the Lord Jesus help you to achieve a life of contentment in Him.

Prayer:

Lord my heavenly Father, help me, I pray and bring me to this place of submission. Take control of the way I think and understand. Give me the wisdom, oh! Holy Spirit to humble myself into accepting what you want to make of me. Transform me Lord so that my heart will desire the things pertaining to eternal life. In Jesus' name I ask. Amen


The annual church feast of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, Colombo celebrated on June 13. Here, the decorated statue of St. Anthony being taken in procession around the streets with the Western Band of St. Joseph’s College, Maradana leading the procession. Picture by Susantha Wijegunasekera

 

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