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