of Religious Harmony in Jaffna
[Updated :: 2010-06-01 19:21:11 Hours]
Tamil Catholic community in Atchuveli area hereafter will be able
to attend the Sunday Mass and other rituals at the Church of Our
Lady of Immaculate Conception since it was vested to Jaffna Catholic
Church by the Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna on Monday (31.05.2010)
after about twenty years. Jaffna SF Headquarters, honouring equality
of all religions in Jaffna, under the guidance of Major General
Mahinda Hathurusinghe made necessary arrangements to renovate and
inaugurate 600 years old Dutch-built church for religious rites
with view to pervading way for devotees in the area to continue
with their spiritual activities.
The church, best known as St. Mary’s Church, Ottahapulan situated
in Palaly – Atchuveli road in the HSZ, had been abandoned due to
LTTE activities since 1990. Buildings and most of its parts including
the Altar, Holy Cross, statues and the main church hall had badly
been damaged and the church was disappearing
in the jungle when a request came to SF-J from the Catholic Church
seeking possibilities to reopen it for religious performance.
Honouring the request of the Church, on
instructions of Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Army troops
based in the vicinity renovated the church and brought it back to
former condition with great effort under the supervision of Brigadier
General Staff SF-J Brig BCJAF Rodrigo, who personally involved in
bringing down most needed church equipment statues, furniture and
costumes from Colombo.
Reopening was scheduled on the church feast day. During the opening
ceremony, SF-Commander handed over the key of the church to Rev.
Fr. Dr. Justin B. Gnanapragasam, Vicar General Jaffna who represented
Jaffna Bishop. General Officer Commanding 52 Division Brigadier
Lal Perera, Brigadier General Staff SF-J Brig. BCJAF Rodrigo and
other Senior Officers present made offerings in the process of the
mass to church.
Large number of priests, nuns, Army personnel and over 1000 devotees
of Catholic faith attended feast mass today.
Religious reawakening, irrespective their beliefs, to heal broken
spirits of people in Jaffna which was once a terrain of severe war
is one aspect of Civil-Military Coordinating affairs being carried
out by the SF-J for public welfare.