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Mass of Harmony & Brotherhood Held at St. Anthony’s Church in Kachchathivu
[Updated :: 2011-03-21 11:21:59 Hours]

The isolated and beautiful isle of Kachachathivu, located many kilometers away from mainland in the Indian Ocean was congested with pilgrims on Sunday (20) when St. Anthony’s Church there held the annual mass.

Vicar General Jaffna Rev. Fr. Dr. Thomas Soundranayagam conducted the mass. Approximately 1200 local Catholics from different parts of the country participated in this annual festival. A team of Indian Catholic priests headed by Rev. Fr. Michel Raj of Sagayamada Church in Sivasangai Diocese were also present along with 3000 Indian devotees of Roman Catholic faith and a few Hindus at the mass freely held after many years with participation of such a massive crowd. Majority had arrived the previous day and spent the night in Kachchathivu to attend the morning mass to get blessing of St. Anthony, to whom the church is dedicated. Sri Lankan government through Government Agent Jaffna had made arrangements to cater to basic needs of local and Indian devotees arriving in the isle to attend the mass which symbolizes the long-lasting comradeship between local and Indian communities. Sri Lanka Navy and Police provided security to people throughout during their stay in the island. In addition, medical centres and drinking water tanks had been installed by the Sri Lanka Navy. Meals, shelter and sanitary conveniences are among the facilities organized by the Sri Lanka Navy.

Administration power of Kachchathivu island which lies over about 1.5 square kilometers at a distance of 45 nautical miles away from Kankesanthurai was vested in the Sri Lankan government in 1974 by the Indian government under provisions of Sirima-Shasthri pact. Since then this beautiful sandy island covered with tropical shrubs has been serving as a resting and meeting place for both toiling local and Indian fishermen.

Kennedy Suren
Baskar Sureni

Kennedy Suren, an Engineer from Thangachchimadam, in Rameshwaram, India expressed his extreme happiness about his visit to Kachchathivu saying “Sri Lankans are friendly. Arrangements this time here are good and I hope to come next time too”.

Baskar Sureni, a young girl from Thalaimannar told that it was her first experience in Kachchathivu. She said, “I would have come earlier but the war that prevailed prevented me doing so. Now we can come every year.”

Commenting on the festival S. Alexander, a pious Catholic from Tamil Nadu and K Kagayanan, a Hindu from Madurai, India appreciated arrangements of the Sri Lankan government for the pilgrims.

Commander Security Forces - Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe and Brigadier General Staff Security Forces Jaffna Brig. B.C.J.A.F. Rodrigo made monetary donations to assist development work of the church.

Chief priest of Delft Rev. Fr. Amal Raj, Government Agent Jaffna Mrs. Emelda Sukumar, Commander Northern Naval Command Rear Admiral S.M.B. Werasekara, General Officer Commanding 51 Division Maj. Gen. Janaka Walgama, , senior officers of the Army, Navy and government sector also attended the mass.

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