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