ASCC goes Cyber
June 6 was an historic day to No. 45, Kynsey Road, Colombo 8 as
the Archdiocesan Social Communication Centre (ASCC) was a great feat of
His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray, in the mid 60s. After the second
Vatican Council.Where ever he put his hand into, the end was a great
feat. Because he was so great!
eminence was a communicator to the core. He knew the validity and the
length and the breadth of this massive empire. He finished
constructing the hollow edifice and entrusted to draw up the blue print
for a professional sound studio to a broadcaster who had inborn
talent to do great things either before the studio microphone or the TV
camera. He was calm so was his soothing voice. He could not accomplish
the task God decided otherwise, that was Fr. Joe Nettesinghe.
His eminence Cardinal Cooray who was the initiator and the prime
mover of Radio Veritas which has chalked up over 40 years to date, was
contemplating entrusting Radio Veritas to Fr. Joe Neth but the Cardinal
changes his strategy and identifies a another creative and a capable
young priest to continue from the point his predecessor halted. To
design a modern studio in those dark hollow spaces was not an easy task.
He was new to the task. Weeks and months passed by, the edifice
changed in its soul. Fully equipped audio Studio comes to be adorned
with the latest Swedish Studio equipment. Fr. Rufus christened the
social communications centre as Joeneth Studio in undying memory to a
great broadcaster of the Catholic Church.
Now it was time to find a capable technician to work on the brand new
equipment to meet musicians to work with them to mix and edit the music
renderings and to come up with the final product. Fr. Rufus went in
search of a technician for the future. Donald Ivan a rustic young lad
who was putting his hands into motor winding and other areas of the
Radio Lab at Kotahena.
The eyes fell on this lad. The question was could he be a suitable
candidate for the task? Fr. Ignatius Perera cannot make a mistake. He
was a wizard in the technical field, things so nicely clicked and he
said he is the man. In no time Joe Neth popularly known then as
‘Bishops’ became a household name. It grew up that fast that to get a
date for a recording at that time, the client had to be in the waiting
list for over three months. No doubt that we were on top most rung.
Archbishop Dr. Nicholas Marcus too was on the alert of the happenings
in the media world and his responses were well accepted and his
contribution towards the Church Communications must be appraised.
Working with him was very pleasant and rewarding. In his retirement in
that beautiful and serene setting under the shadow of the Basilia, I am
sure with so many pleasant memories social communications centre too has
Grace the Archbishop Dr. Oswald Gomis has carved a niche in the edifice
of Church Communications locally and in Asia. His clarity in
communication has earned so much honour and prestige to the local
Church. His pioneering involvement in Radio Veritas has enabled for it
to march forward with durability. It should be noted here that during
his tenure as Archbishop of Colombo the investments made were for the
development of the studios, we are so grateful for.
I must admit that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Fr. Rufus
Benedict my guru who showed me the way. After my first tenure of office
Very Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini becomes the Director and did shine as a media
professional. So is he today, Fr. Sriyananda Fernando succeeds Fr.
Gamini, a bundle of talent simple and unassuming. His musical talent
enabled him to put his mark in the arena of communications.
Today we have arrived at a critical era. The media that we were
accustomed to see and hear is fast disappearing.
Olden day categories the nomenclatures are outdated. New
technologies have taken over from all sides. Media has taken a
commandeering position in many areas. We cannot compromise today.
We have been necessitated to face the brunt of it. And respond fairly
and squarely. The social media is revolutionizing the entire world.
If I may turn to our Communications centre, as far back as 1972 our
studio had mono system, in the 80s we switched on to Stereo system, now
it is digital and more. There is so much of competition and new modes of
has to manage her affairs being in the thick of this scenario. Our
approach has to be professional and well established.
It is at this juncture His eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith threw
the challenge to us who are in the field of communications and directed
us to see to the feasibility of a Catholic Radio Station to start with.
Our request was made to the higher authorities but it was of no avail.
While we pursue this we thought that we shall embark on an online
radio joined to our website since time was running out.
On June 6, we entered into the cyber space. His Eminence Malcolm
Cardinal Ranjith was the chief Guest and Hudsan Samarasinghe was the
guest of honour. Bishops Emmanuel Fernando and Maxwel Silva were in
attendance with a number of priests and other distinguished visitors.
After the lighting of the traditional oil lamp His eminence Malcolm
Cardinal Ranjith garlanded the photograph of His eminence Thomas
Cardinal Cooray and floral tribute paid to Frs. Joe Neththasnghe Rufus
All the guests visited the studios and gathered near the mini studio
named after Thomas Cardinal Cooray for the solemn opening. The
online radio Was launched after -www.lankacatholic.com, siyelihanda.blogspot.com
‘Christian Unity, the need of the hour’
Lord Bishop of Colombo:
A Christian united rally organised by the National Christian Council
was held at the Cathedral of the Living Saviour to mark the Feast of the
Pentecost with all Christian denominations being represented.
One of the stirring sermons delevered was by the Baptist Pastor, Rev
Bulathsinhala who stressed on the importance of unity among all
denominations which lacks today with each going their own way. ‘We must
not be responsible for a divided church’ he said, followed by Methodist
and clergy representatives who made soul-searching sermons. However, the
Catholic church was not represented due to some unavoidable reason hours
before the prayer sessions started. The Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo, Rt
Rev Emmanual Fernando was due to speak.
Delo Canagasaby, Anglican Bishop of Colombo
The Final Benediction was delivered by His Lordship, Delo Canagasaby,
Anglican Bishop of Colombo.
In his short sermon, the Bishop said ‘Christian Unity is the crying
need of the hour. Why have we to be divided into so many denominations.
Why can't we be like family under one roof and not lock ourselves in
separate rooms? Because when we come out of those rooms, we all meet
face to face with each other under one roof.
Christians should never be divided because when we meet God on
Judgement Day, we have to meet Him as one family in one faith, never
The Bishop further said ‘I repeat over and over again that
Christianity is not a religion but an ongoing vibrant communication
between God and all of us, day and night. There should never be a pause
to this. We must feel God every minute. His Lordship quoted John 17, 20.
‘I pray not only for them but also for those who believe in me
because of their message. I pray that they may all be one. Father, may
they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one so
that the world would believe that you sent me. I gave them the same
glory you gave me so that they may be one just as you and I are one. I
in them and you in me so that they may be completely one in order that
the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love
Choirs in English, Sinhala and Tamil from the National Christian
Council, Catholic Church and the Evangalic Alliance of Sri Lanka were in
attendance. At the end of the candle-lit prayer for a fresh infilling of
the Holy Spirit and a new Pentecost in the lives of people, the session
ended upon a packed gathering.
Corpus Christi at St. Lazarus Church Kurukulawa
Picture by Alosiuse Caldera
Corpus Christi was celebrated at St. Lazarus Church Kurukulawa
recently. The celebration commenced with Holy Mass followed by the
exposition of the Holy Eucharistic Adoration.
In his homily at the festive mass Rev Fr Ruwan Deshapriya, staff
Loyala College said, “The Holy Eucharist is the treasure of Christian
Life. It is in the Eucharist that we find a way of communicating with
Jesus. Our bodies can become temples of the Holy Spirit when we receive
the Eucharist worthily”.
The beautifully decorated chariot carrying the Holy Eucharist wended
its way from Thuduwegedera to Kurukulawa for Benediction. On the way,
Rev Fr. Francis Fonseka, Parish priest of Kurukulawa blessed from the
Holy Eucharist in repositories. The parishioners of Kurukulawa and
Thuduwegedera took part in the procession with faith, love and devotion
towards the Holy Eucharist.
Pope receives Archbishop of Canterbury
Path Toward Unity, Praying And Working Together :
Pope Francis received the Primate of all England and head of the
worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury,
England, with the same words that Paul VI greeted his predecessor,
Michael Ramsey, during his historic visit to the Vatican in 1966: “Your
steps have not brought you to a foreign dwelling ... we are pleased to
open the doors to you, and with the doors, our heart, pleased and
honoured as we are ... to welcome you ‘not as a guest or a stranger, but
as a fellow citizen of the Saints and the Family of God’.”
He also recalled that, at the ceremony of his taking possession of
the Cathedral of Canterbury, the archbishop prayed for the new Bishop of
Rome, a gesture that the Pope was deeply grateful for. He added: “Since
we began our respective ministries within days of each other, I think we
will always have a particular reason to support one another in prayer.”
“The history of relations between the Church of England and the
Catholic Church,” the Pope continued, “is long and complex, and not
without pain. Recent decades, however, have been marked by a journey of
rapprochement and fraternity, and for this we give heartfelt thanks to
This journey has been brought about both via theological dialogue,
through the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International
Commission, and via the growth of cordial relations at every level
through shared daily lives in a spirit of profound mutual respect and
In this regard, I am very pleased to welcome alongside you Archbishop
Vincent Nichols of Westminster. These firm bonds of friendship have
enabled us to remain on course even when difficulties have arisen in our
theological dialogue that were greater than we could have foreseen at
the start of our journey.”
Francis expressed his gratitude to the archbishop for “the sincere
efforts that the Church of England has made to understand the reasons
that led ... Pope Benedict XVI, to provide a canonical structure able to
respond to the wishes of those groups of Anglicans who have asked to be
received collectively into the Catholic Church.”
He stated that the structure “will enable the spiritual, liturgical,
and pastoral traditions that form the Anglican patrimony to be better
known and appreciated in the Catholic world.”
The pontiff then noted that their meeting is an opportunity to recall
that “the search for unity among Christians is prompted not by practical
considerations, but by the will of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who
made us his brothers and sisters, children of the One Father. Hence the
prayer that we make today is of fundamental importance.”
Their praying together “gives a fresh impulse to our daily efforts to
grow towards unity, which are concretely expressed in our cooperation in
various areas of daily life.
Particularly important among these is our witness to the reference to
God and the promotion of Christian values in a world that seems at times
to call into question some of the foundations of society, such as
respect for the sacredness of human life or the importance of the
institution of the family built on marriage. … Then there is the effort
to achieve greater social justice, to build an economic system that is
at the service of man and promotes the common god. Among our tasks as
witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of
the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that
seems at times to treat people as mere consumers.”
“I know that Your Grace,” the Holy Father asserted, “is especially
sensitive to all these questions, in which we share many ideas, and I am
also aware of your commitment to foster reconciliation and resolution of
conflicts between nations. In this regard, together with Archbishop
Nichols [the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, England], you have
urged the authorities to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict
such as would guarantee the security of the entire population, including
the minorities, not least among whom are the ancient local Christian
As you yourself have observed, we Christians bring peace and grace as
a treasure to be offered to the world, but these gifts can bear fruit
only when Christians live and work together in harmony. This makes it
easier to contribute to
building relations of respect and peaceful coexistence with those who
belong to other religious traditions, and with non-believers.”
“The unity we so earnestly long for,” concluded the Pope, “is a gift
that comes from above and it is rooted in our communion of love with the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. May the merciful Father hear and
grant the prayers that we make to him together.”