The new Bishop-elect:
Spiritual leader of great humility
‘Happy are those who are humble; they
will receive what God has promised; Happy are those whose greatest
desire is to do what God requires’ (Mathew-5)
These few lines and the rest from the Sermon on the Mount inspired
and changed the course of life in Mahathma Gandhi’s thinking. Today, it
is this inspiration that our new Bishop-elect Ven Dhiloraj Ranjit
Canagasabey is influenced with.
Venerable Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabey, Bishop-elect of the
Anglican Church of Ceylon being greeted by former Bishop, Dulip
He was elected as the 15th Bishop of the Anglican community in Sri
Lanka at a special Diocesan Council Meeting at the Cathedral,
unanimously and uncontested by both clergy and laity by the Constitution
that require two thirds majority. He simply swept through as the most
popular choice in recent times. He will succeed Bishop Dulip Chickera
who retired in December. 2010.
His appointment is subject to confirmation by the Archbishop of
Canterbury head of the Anglican Church worldwide. The Queen is the
defender of the faith, Ven Dhillo’s consecration is scheduled for May
Bishop-elect, Ven Dhilo Canagasabey is truly a man of God who waited
in the wings until the call of God to lead his people at a very
turbulent time when nations in the Middle-East are rising against their
leaders, especially where Jesus Christ was born, preached and sacrificed
His life to save all of us.
Some Christians are persecuted and churches bombed. In the background
of this troubled world, the Lord has saved and given us a true spiritual
leader to pray and guide His flock.
Ven Dhilo was born on May 23, 1955 in Batticaloa and had his early
education at St Michael’s College, Batticaloa. After his studies, he
joined the hotel industry as Management Trainee at Hotel School and
later worked at Hotel Oberoi for five years.
But this was not his vocation. The Lord had lined up more significant
area in his life and he answered the God’s call to the Ministry by
joining the Theological College of Lanka in 1977 and was ordained a
Deacon, May 27, 1983.
He was ordained as a priest on June 3, 1983 by the then Bishop,
Swithin Fernando at Holy Trinity Church, Nuwara Eliya.
There was no turning back for Ven Dhilo because he was appointed as
the Arch-deacon of Nuwara Eliya on December 17, 1997. God had planned a
busy life for the young archdeacon. While being in charge of the Nuwara
Eliya Diocese, he served several parishes as vicar in that archdeconery
while meeting the Diocese needs. He also served as the Chaplain of St
Thomes College, Bandarawela and acted as Head-Master during its troubled
period. His Area covered the upcountry, Uva and Easter Provinces which
were the biggest in terms of areas covered by our Diocese.
Ven Dhilo worked tireless and relentlessly. He seldom paused in his
duties. He was available to each and every one who needed him no matter
what time of the day or night it was. Apart from his spiritual
commitments, Ven Dhilo served as Chairman on several committees. His
dedication and efforts in the Estate Community Development program where
a great deal of work had been done is unparallel.
With the retirement of Archdeacon Godwin Weerasuriya, he has served
as the Bishop’s stand-in when His Lordship was away.
He is blessed with a very supportive wife and two loving children.
With a gift for speaking in all three languages, Ven Dhilo has the power
of drawing people to the mission of the Lord.
He is a person who stands above the rest because of his humility
being simple and humble through his journey of spirituality.
Ven Dhilo after his training at the Theological College in
Pilimatalawa, went on to obtain his Bachelor of Divinity degree from the
University of Serenpore, India.
Few years back at a Diocese Council meet where I represented my
church, I was downed with a small problem I could not resolve.
During lunch time where over 300 delegates were present for the
fellowship meal, I sat under a tree wondering what to do when someone
merged before eyes from among the teeming chatty crowd. He had spotted
my isolation and waked over to find out why I was sulking. I was taken
aback but the good shepherd in him made me feel alright. That was the
first time I met and spoke to Ven Dhilo and ever since, my abiding
adoration to him grew stronger.
Today, he stands steadfastly with a mighty responsibility on his
shoulders to sustain and spearhead the Anglican community in Sri Lanka
in faith and God’s grace.
‘The Lord is my shepherd - I have everything I need
He lets me rest in pastures of green grass
And leads me to quiet pools of fresh water
He gives me new strength - He guides me in the right path as he
Even if I go through the deepest darkness. I will not be afraid
Lord, for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.....
(Psalm 23, 1-4)
Don’t rub off your ashes, says Bishop
Praying on Ash Wednesday
People prayed during an Ash Wednesday service at St. Patrick’s
Cathedral in New York. Catholics should try not to rub their ashes off
after Ash Wednesday Mass, an English Bishop has said.
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, who heads the Department
of Evangelisation and Catechesis, called upon Catholics across Britain
to wear “the outward sign of our inward sorrow for our sins and for our
commitment to Jesus as Our Lord and Saviour”.
He said, “The wearing of the ashes provides us with a wonderful
opportunity to share with people how important our faith is to us and to
point them to the cross of Christ. I invite you where possible to attend
a morning or lunchtime Mass.
“Please try not to rub off your ashes as soon as you leave the
church, but take the sign of the cross to all those that you meet - in
your school, office, factory, wherever you may be. This might just make
people curious and wonder why you would do this. If you explain about
Lent and Easter it might just make them think and may even awaken in
them the questions that might lead to faith. Many people have a dim
awareness of Lent and even ashes. It would be good to make this clear
rather than dim.
“Don’t underestimate the power of this simple action and wear your
ashes as not only a sign of the beginning of your Lenten journey, but
also to witness to your greatest treasure in life. This small step could
awaken faith in the hearts of many that you meet in a way that words
could never do.” Catholics received ashes at Mass on Ash Wednesday where
they were reminded of their own mortality when the priest said, “From
ashes to ashes”. The ashes are made from the fronds of palm used on Palm
Sunday of the previous year.
Courtesy: Catholic Herald
Centenary of the arrival of Marist Brothers to
Marist Brothers, champions of Catholic Education
It was on March 24, 1911 that five Brothers, Peter Leo, Paul Leo,
Francis Anthony, Jules Lawrence and Marie Chrysostom from Saint Denis
Laval in France arrived in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon. These missionaries
began their mission at St. Michael’s College Batticaloa, a school
administered by the Jesuits.
The Brothers learnt English and Tamil, Tamil being the language
spoken by the majority in the eastern region. Having learnt the local
languages Marist pioneers laid the foundation of enculteration and soon
moved from the east to the western part of the country.
They who proved to be very audacious in their mission, spreading the
Good News through the medium of education, came to Negombo at the
invitation of Archbishop Coudert and were warmly welcomed by Very Rev Fr
Milliner OMI the then Parish Priest of Grand Street Negombo.
Their faith-filled hearts and vision enriched Marist mission in
Ceylon. St. Mary’s College, Negombo, Maris Stella College Negombo,
Joseph Vaz College Wennappuwa, Christ King College Thudella, St.
Joseph’s College Bandarawela are some of the leading schools
administered by Marist Pioneers. We should agree that era of English
education began to fade out unfortunately as the state policy of
Swabasha came into prominence. Not only Marist Brothers but also many
religious orders lost their best of the schools along with their
discipline and English education. What was done cannot be undone. Maris
Stella the strong hold of Marist Brothers was the only school that was
secured without being stolen.
Holy Cross College Kalutara another treasure of Marist Brothers that
was nurtured, was also grabbed from their grip. At present Marist
administration is treasured at St Joseph’s College Nugegoda, and St.
Mary’s College Chilaw.
Yet Marist Brothers extend their service to the needy and the poor in
Kalpitiya and Jaffna. People of Kalpitiya and the islands owe a debt of
gratitude to Marist Brothers especially to Rev. Br. Lal Fonseka and Rev
Br Laza for their yeoman service in this scorching sun. Rev. Brothers
Nicholas and Francis serve the needy children in guiding and teaching
them for their future well-being.
Electro Vocational Institute run by the Marist Brothers in Negombo
opens avenues for young school leavers and exam failures for vocational
training and being well established in their respective skills here and
abroad. Rev Br Victor Fernando along with his devout staff is turning
the wheel ahead.
Renowned Marist Farm yet another Marist treasure and the Noviatite
are located in Thudella. Sri Lankan, Indian and Pakistan Novices are
formed under the watchful eyes of Rev Bros Joseph Florentius and Godfrey
Some senior Brothers extend their brotherly hands to the parish
activities at Haldanduwana in Chilaw Diocese.
Though I have not seen all those Pioneers and the early Brothers like
Rev Brothers Joseph, Julian, Lewis and Conran I have known and
associated with Brothers like Rev Brothers Peter Berchmans, Paul Nizier,
Valentine and Raphael, they provided me enough evidences as to how they
have contributed to their chosen field of education. They are real
educationists but simple great brothers in the true sense of the word.
Rev Br Gerard Peiris (89), the most senior Brother of the present
Congregation is also fondly remembered.
Being a proud Maristonian who was nurtured and well nourished, I am
obliged to pen this appreciation of Marist Brothers who gifted me free
education and formation, a priceless gift I treasure in abundance.
Let this be a modest tribute to all Marist Brothers and especially to
dearly beloved Rev Br Gregory Aloycious, the then Provincial and
Principal of College who gifted me free admission and Rev Br Clinton
Perera, the Principal throughout my school education and Rev Br Joseph
Fonseka, my primary Principal, Rev Br Linus Fernando my teacher in
primary grades and Rev. Br. Shanthi Liyanage, the Prefect of Boarders.
These true illustrious of Saint Marcellin Champagnat who are behind my
success are respectfully remembered.
If Brother Gregory Aloysius had not extended his sincere generous
hands towards me and gifted me free education and all the other Brothers
had not treated me equally and humanely with the affluent friends in the
College and hostel, my destiny would have unquestionably been changed. I
am ever grateful to Marist Brothers, the designers of my life, for what
I am today. On many occasions people have inquired from me whether I was
in a seminary somewhere.
That is the formation that shaped my personality. Therefore I proudly
say, “No I am a Maristonian.” That is the best reward I can offer to my
Alma Mater. Brother Clinton Perera who is a brilliant scholar guided the
destiny of Marist Stella for over twenty years and it was during that
period of time that he, together with the staff geared the College up to
a standard that was on a par with the best of any other school in the
As the principal, he was especially hard on the students where
discipline was concerned but he was dear to all of us. When he walked
round the school in full majesty twice a day during the first period and
after lunch interval, there was a pin drop silence in the entire school.
When he stood in front of the College chapel the entire school remained
in great silence.
We have experienced enough of that great silence and that was a part
of our disciplinary formation.
He is a martinet who demanded perfect discipline and that turned
those Maristonians to be disciplinary. He trusted firmly that discipline
and education are twin brothers who should walk abreast.
That brilliant attitude brought glory to Maris Stella College and
that transition expanded the student population rapidly. Rev Br Joseph
Fonseka, who is deeply religious as he is, saw to the spiritual welfare
of all with great enthusiasm in his tenure as the Primary Principal.
Rev Br Linus one of my primary grade teachers was a lover of picnics
and passionately fond of long tours. Unless he organized all those
annual trips many of us would have lost the opportunity of enjoying the
beauty of Sri Lanka. We as old boys still cherish the sweet memories of
our picnics to Yala, Wilpattu and Nuwaraeliya etc.
Rev Br Shanthi Liyanage, the present Marist Provincial was my
favourite prefect of boarders. He had a sympathetic ways in him. He did
not give room for any discrimination. He was a real gentleman. Once he
was my English teacher who coached me lucidly.
Rev Br Michael De Waas, who was the Provincial of Sri Lanka, India
and Pakistan, is currently serving as a General Councillor of Marist
Brothers in Rome. He is the first ever Sri Lankan who has been elevated
to such a position in the Congregation.
Marist Brothers have designed and shaped the veterans of Maris Stella
College in all the professions and fields under the sun and they stand
firm and serve here and abroad as loyal Maristonians. May Marist
Brothers in Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan who solely contribute to the
well being of education be blessed with vocations and guidance of the
Holy Spirit to steer the wheel towards success.
Ash Wednesday, dustification and end of world
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the
ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust and to dust you shall
return (Genesis 3:19).
Dustification of the creation
Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lent, is not a day for misery and
self-pity, but a day for deep repentance and radical conversion. Ash
Wednesday is ready to take away our ashen faces. Ash Wednesday is a day
of aspiration, assistance, assurance and ascent towards spiritual
Humans are earthly creatures through and through and our destiny is
organically and necessarily tied up with the health and happiness of the
earth. We are not flying creatures such as eagles, crows, hawks, parrots
and mocking birds. This fantasy about space travels and colonizing other
planets is a very comforting illusion and can at best become an escape
from our earthly, clayish, ashy, soily, dusty and fleshy reality. Even
if we develop the technological capability to settle down in another
planet, what guarantee would we have that we are not going to destroy it
the way we have plundered, raped and devastated the mother earth?
What is fundamentally and very urgently required of us is
transformation of our consciousness and our daily lifestyles, not so
much space exploration for exploitative enterprises. Earth is our second
skin without which human life is absolutely impossible. Our malnourished
and anorexic perspective on dust is gathering dust and it is high time
to dust it off. The one who cherishes the earth cherishes the universe
entire. By the same token, the one who destroys the earth destroys the
universe entire. The enemies of the earth are the enemies of God and the
friends of the earth are friends of God too.
Sanctification of the dust
Dusts sing of a presence that is sacred, divine and holy and that
hymn is the essence its luminosity. The whole dusty earth is an
enchanted kingdom. Dusts contain the splendour of God and reflect the
glory of God.
God’s creativity and originality is ever active, flows and flares
forth in and through dusts and ashes. His creative energy pulsates in
dust. There is no such a thing as cosmic energy apart from divine
energy. God is the fountain of cosmic energy. No energy can give birth
to itself. No energy can create itself out of nothing. There is a
Creator of all energy. This prodigious cosmic creativity, this
mind-blowing and mind-buggling cosmic energy is never arbitrary or
auto-generated. Cosmic energy is borrowed-energy from God.
Matter has a mysterious and a metaphysical dimension. Dustification
is part and parcel of divine justification. There is no sanctification
of the human person without dustification.
Evolution is dust becoming alive, vibrant and reflectively conscious.
Earth is a living and pulsating organism. Divine incarnation is
sanctification of dust and dustification of the Sacred. Dusts possess a
psychic inwardness and a multifaceted consciousness received from and
given by its Creator. The evolving and expanding universe is a
celebratory event, a glorious reality. The earth is becoming
increasingly alive, giggling and pulsating.
To be continued next week