PDF Version

News Letter - Diocese of Galle
St. Sebastian's Church, Udugama
31st of January and 01st of February 2015
[ Feasts]
Saturday 31st January 2015: Solemn Evening Prayer/ Vespers at 5.00 p.m.
Main Celebrant: Very Rev. Fr. Charles Hewawasam - Vicar General
Sunday 01st February 2015 :- Solemn Eucharistic Celebration at 8.30 a.m.
Main Celebrant:- Most Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickramasinghe - Bishop of Galle
All Are Welcome to Grace this Festive Occasion
Rev. Fr. Mariyalangaram Gratian
Parish Priest
Canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz
The Confirmation by the
Holy See that Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri
Lanka will be canonized by
Holy Father, Pope Francis,
during His visit to Sri
Lanka, saw last week how
the Local Church celebrated
that good news. "We Have
Our First Saint Rejoice Sri
Lanka," was the message
behind the ringing of the church bells that heralded the
good tidings right across the country.
A joint statement signed by Colombo Archbishop, His
Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith as the Chairman of
the Catholic Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka and Most
Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando, Bishop of Kandy who is
also the Chairman of the National Secretariat for the
Cause of Canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz states: It
is with great joy that we received the good news, that
His holiness Pope Francis has decided to canonize
Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri Lanka. Our
hearts are filled with gratitude to God Almighty for this
long awaited blessing.
[ National ]
The meeting due within this week, would be in view of
His visit to Sri Lanka in January 2015, media reports
The Church authorities further said that on the directives
of Inspector General of Police, a Special Police Unit has
been set up to coordinate the security operations during
the Pope's visit. The special Police unit will be headed
by Senior Superintendent of Police Priyantha Jayakody.
As the Pope is planning to visit the Shrine of Marudha
Madu on January 14, a special discussion was held in
Mannar with Most Rev Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of
Mannar chairing the meeting to plan out the security.
The meeting was attended by Bishop of Kurunegala
Diocese Most Rev. Dr. Herald Anthony Perera, Chairman of the Security Arrangement Sub Committee and
Rev.Fr. Emilianus Pillai, the Administrator of the Shrine
of Our Lady of Madhu. His Holiness the Pope is due to
be in Mannar for a prayer service.
On January 15, His Holiness the Pope will leave for
Courtesy : dailynews.lk
We offer our heartfelt thanks to His Holiness not only
for His decision to number Blessed Joseph Vaz, among
the Saints of the Universal Church, but also for giving us
the privilege of having the canonization on our own soil,
during his visit to our country.
Pope Francis, is due to visit Sri Lanka on January 13 and
on January 15th morning the Pontiff will leave for Philippines. The 'Gnanartha Pradeepaya', the Catholic
weekly, the organ of the Local Catholic Church reported
last week, that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would be
in Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis.
News Letter-Diocese of Galle
The Annual Youth Christmas Get-together
[ Local News]
The Annual Youth Christmas get-together was held in Nuwara Eliya on the 17th & 18th December. 13 youth from the diocesan committee, Rev. Fr. Lasantha Sanjeewa and Rev. Sr. FreedaDOLSH participated in this get-together. We gathered together on the 17th evening. The cold climate
of Nuwara Eliya gave us the glimpse of that cold night at Bethlehem long time ago. A prayer service
was conducted, carols were sung, reflections were shared and gifts were exchanged.
An overall balanced evaluation of the whole year was taken. Among the ideas expressed , the
postponement of the annual youth retreat was a great drawback and as the director I took the responsibility of it. The year planner for the next year was discussed.
The following day was spent on the greens of Gregory Lake with boat rides and we visited the
botanical garden at Haggala. Thus two joyful days were spent as an encouragement for the diocesan
committee and to be more enthusiastic in the coming year.
Fr. Naveen Jude de Silva
Diocesan Youth Director
Blessing and Opening of Catholic Media Centre
For more photos please visit: www.gallediocese.org
News Letter - Diocese of Galle
Bishop’s Official Engagements - January 2015
Holy Mass at the Carmel Convent
Pope’s Visit Central Committee Meeting
Pope’s Visit Media Committee Meeting
Presbyteral Council Meeting
Pope’s Visit – Meeting
11th – 15th Pope’s Visit
Opening of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel
Meeting with the Parish Councilors
Thanksgiving Holy Mass
Thanksgiving Holy Mass
Meeting with CARIS Singapore
Apostolic Journey
of His Holiness
Pope Francis to
Sri Lanka
12-15 January 2015
Monday, January 12, 2015
19:00 – Departure from the Airport of
Rome/ Fiumicino to Colombo
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
09:00 – Arrival at the Colombo International Airport, Katunayake WELCOME CEREMONY
13:15 – MEETING with the Bishops at
the Archbishop’s Hose, Colombo – 08
17:00 – COURTESY VISIT to the
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri
Lanka at the President’s House.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
18:15 – INTER-RELIGIOUS MEETING in the Banda- 08:15 – Visit to the Chapel of the “Benedict XVI Cultural Institute” at Bolawalana
ranayake Memorial International Conference Hall
08:45 – Farewell ceremony at the Colombo Interna(BMICH) Colombo.
tional Airport, Katunayake
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
09:00 – Departure from Colombo to Manila
08:30 – Celebration of Holy Eucharist and Canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz in Galle Face Green Colombo
14:00 – Departure to Madhu Shrine
15:30 – MARIAN PRAYER at the Shrine of our Lady
of Rosary of Madhu
16:45 – Departure to Colombo
Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando Director, Media & Information Secretariat, Pope's Visit 2015
News Letter-Diocese of Galle
[ Monthly Special ]
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936,
Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis on March 13,
2013, when he was named the 266th pope of the Roman
Catholic Church. Bergoglio, the first pope from the Americas, reportedly took his papal title after St. Francis of Assisi
of Italy. Prior to his election as pope, Bergoglio served as
archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013 (succeeding
Antonio Quarracino), as cardinal of the Roman Catholic
Church of Argentina from 2001 to 2013, and as president of
the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 2005 to 2011.
Pope Francis made his first international visit in July 2013,
traveling to Brazil. In December 2013, Pope Francis was
also named Person of the Year by TIME magazine.
On March 13, 2013, at the age of 76, Jorge Bergoglio was
named the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church—
becoming the first citizen from the Americas, the first nonEuropean and first Jesuit priest to be named pope, and
adopting the name Pope Francis (he reportedly took the title
after St. Francis of Assisi of Italy, a Catholic preacher during the 12th and 13th centuries). Prior to the 2013 papal
election, Pope Francis had served as both archbishop and
cardinal for more than 12 years.
Addressing a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter's
Square, in the Vatican City in Rome, Italy, after his election
win, Pope Francis stated, "As you know, the duty of the
conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome. It seems to me
that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from faraway. ...Here I am. I would like to thank you for your embrace."
vigil in St. Peter's Square on September 7, which was attended by roughly 100,000 people. According to the Catholic News Service, Francis told the crowd that "When man
thinks only of himself ... permits himself to be captivated by
the idols of dominion and power ... Then the door opens to
violence, indifference and conflict."
The pope implored those involved in the conflict to find a
peaceful solution to the conflict. "Leave behind the selfFirst International Visit as Pope
interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference
that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer
Pope Francis made his first international visit on July 22, your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and
2013, when he arrived at the Galateo-Antonio Carlos Jobim reconciliation."
International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There, he
was greeted by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in a wel- Later that month, Pope Francis gave a revealing interview to
come ceremony, later circulating downtown Rio in order to an Italian Jesuit publication called La Civiltà Cattolica. He
be "close to the people."
explained that the religious dialogue must been broader in
While in Rio, Pope Francis was on hand to celebrate World
Youth Day. More than 3 million people attended the pontiff's closing mass at the event. On his way back to Rome,
Pope Francis surprised reporters traveling with him regarding his seemingly open stance on gay Catholics. According
to The New York Times, he told the press that "If someone
is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who
am I to judge?" His remarks were heralded by several gay
and lesbian groups as a welcoming gesture by the Roman
Catholic Church.
Pope as Spiritual and World Leader
scope, not simply focused on such issues as homosexuality
and abortion. "We have to find a new balance; otherwise
even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a
house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the
Gospel," the pope said, according to USA Today. "The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant.
It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then
While he does not believe women should be ordained as
priests, Francis considers themselves an essential part of the
church. "The feminine genius is needed wherever we make
important decisions," he said.
In September 2013, Pope Francis called for others to join
him in praying for peace in Syria. The pontiff held a special
News Letter - Diocese of Galle
He also continued to present a more accepting attitude toward
homosexuality than previous pontiffs, saying that "God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in
the life of a person," according to The Guardian.
In early December 2013, Pope Francis gave an "apostolic exhortation," an address calling for big changes in the Catholic
Church, including rethinking long-held but antiquated customs.
"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it
has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," he stated. "I do not want a Church concerned with being
at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures."
Also in December 2013, Pope Francis was named Person of the
Year by Timemagazine. Pope Francis—having joined the ranks
of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, the only other popes
to be awarded the title in 1994 and 1963, respectively—was a
contender against other prominent figures of the year, including
Edward Snowden, Senator Ted Cruz, Syrian President Bashar al
-Assad and Edith Windsor. In the article, it was revealed that
the deciding factor which led to Pope Francis landing at the top
of the list was his ability to alter the minds of so many people
who had given up on the Catholic church in such a short period
of time.
The following March, it was announced that Pope Francis had
been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Pope Francis named TIME's Person of the Year
Time magazine named Pope Francis its Person of the Year on
Wednesday, crediting him with shifting the message of the
Catholic Church while capturing the imagination of millions of
people who had become disillusioned with the Vatican.
This is the third time the magazine has chosen a pope as its Person of the Year. Time gave that honor to Pope John Paul II in
1994 and to Pope John XXIII in 1963.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, the first from
Latin America and the first Jesuit, was not seeking fame.
"It is a positive sign that one of the most prestigious recognitions by the international media has been given to a person who
proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and
speaks out forcefully in favor of peace and greater justice,"
Lombardi said in a statement.
"If this attracts men and women and gives them hope, the Pope
is happy. If this choice of 'Person of the Year' means that many
have understood this message, even implicitly, he is certainly
A champion of the downtrodden, he visited the island of
Lampedusa in southern Italy in July to pay tribute to hundreds
of migrants who had died crossing the sea from North Africa.
The Argentine pontiff - who, as archbishop of Buenos Aires
was known as the slum cardinal for his visits to the poor and
penchant for subway travel - beat former U.S. National Security
Agency contractor Edward Snowden and gay rights activist
Edith Windsor for the award.
Other finalists included Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.
"What makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he
has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on
hoping for the church at all," Time said in its cover story.
"In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission
of the church — the church as servant and comforter of hurting
people in an often harsh world — above the doctrinal police
work so important to his recent predecessors."
Time said the final selection was made by its editors, who had
considered suggestions from the magazine's more than 2 million Twitter followers.
News Letter-Diocese of Galle
The Apostle of Sri Lanka
[ Top Story ]
St. Joseph Vaz
lessed Joseph Vaz, CO, (Konkani:
Bhagivont Zuze Vaz, Sinhala: Bhagyawantha Juse Vaz Piyathuma, Portuguese: José Vaz), born on 21 April
1651 in Benaulim (Goa, Portuguese India) and
died on the 16 January 1711 in Kandy (Ceylon,
now Sri Lanka), was an Oratorian priest and missionary in Ceylon (today's Sri Lanka).
Vaz entered Ceylon during the Dutch occupation,
when Calvinism had been imposed as the official
religion, after taking over from the Portuguese. He
travelled throughout the island bringing the
Eucharist and the sacraments to clandestine
groups of Catholics. Later in his mission, he found
shelter in the Kingdom of Kandy where he was
able to work freely. By the time of his death, Vaz
had managed to rebuild the Catholic Church on
the island.
As a result of his labors, Vaz is known as the
Apostle of Ceylon. On 21 January 1995, he was
beatified by Pope John Paul II in Colombo. He
will be canonized on 14 January 2015 by Pope
Francis in Sri Lanka.
Vaz suffered from acute dysentery, contracted
from the terrible travelling conditions. Upon reSri Lanka mission (1687–1711)
covering, he began contacting Catholics and hidHearing of the distressful situation of the Catho- ing from the Dutch. He was taken in and minislics of Ceylon who reportedly had no priests for tered to his secret flock by night. In 1689, taking
many years, Vaz desired to go to their rescue. But up his residence in a village called Sillalai where
instead he was named Superior of the Canara Mis- the Catholics were numerous and resolute, Vaz
sion, a post which he occupied for three years. In succeeded in reviving the spirit of the faithful. In
1686, Vaz obtained permission to give up this of- 1690, he was forced to change his quarters for
fice and to proceed to Ceylon. He stopped in the Puttalam, where he worked with great success for
Keladi Kingdom in 1686–1687 for a few months a whole year. Portuguese or Portuguese creole was
on his way to Ceylon, where helped by his com- the common language of the local Catholic companions, he attended to the spiritual needs of the munities those days -as it was the case till recently
local Christians. Disguised as a mendicant, he among Burghers- so communication was not a
reached the port of Tuticorin on Easter Sunday problem for padre José Vaz.
Kandy mission
Jaffna mission
In 1692, Vaz settled in Kandy, the capital of the
On landing at Jaffna, Vaz found a strong Calvinist independent Kingdom of Kandy, as his centre of
presence. As Catholic priests were banned by the operations. On his arrival, he was deemed to be a
Dutch authorities, he had to travel under the guise Portuguese spy and was imprisoned with two
of a mendicant and to work in secret. He travelled other Catholics. There he learned Sinhala, the local language.
barefoot as an Indian sanyasi.
News Letter - Diocese of Galle
Vaz returned to Kandy in 1699 with a fellow priest,
Joseph de Carvalho, who had been expelled at the
instigation of Buddhist monks.
He completed the construction of his new church,
and went into service for the king, translating Portuguese books into Sinhala. From this vantage point,
They were left alone by the prison guards as long as
they didn't try to escape and he built a hut-church
and later a proper church dedicated to Our Lady,
and began converting other prisoners.
Making the most of his new-found freedom, Vaz
made a mission visit to the Dutch-controlled areas
and visited Catholics in Colombo. Three missionaries from the Oratory of Goa arrived in 1697 to help
him, with the news that Pedro Pacheco, Bishop of
Cochin, had appointed Vaz as Vicar General in
Ceylon. He was organizing the basic mission struc-
Vaz intensified his ministry, and converted some
Sinhalesenotables. New missionaries arrived in
1705, which enabled him to organise the mission
into eight districts, each led by a priest.
He worked on the creation of Catholic literature
comparable to that of the Buddhists, and to affirm
the rights of Catholics with those of the Dutch Calvinist Government. Vaz humbly declined the offer
made to him in 1705, to be the bishop and first
Vicar Apostolic of Ceylon, preferring to remain a
simple missionary. For this reason, he is often depicted with a mitre beside him.
ture when smallpox broke out in Kandy. His work
with the sick convinced the king to allow Vaz freedom in his labours.
Vaz carried his mission to the main centers of the
island. Between 1687 to 1711, he was at the head of
a group of Goan Bamonn priests who under his
leadership and inspiration, mixed and moved about
under cover sustaining the persecuted Roman
Catholic population in Ceylon.
King Vimaldharma Surya II, Vaz's patron, died in
1707, but Vira Narendra Sinha, his successor,
proved to be an even greater supporter. New missionaries arrived in 1708. In 1710, despite health
problems, Vaz took another apostolic trip. On his
return, he fell ill. He recovered from a series of infections and fevers, but was left weakened. He undertook eight days of spiritual exercises prescribed
by the Oratorian Rule, but before the seventh day
he died at Kandy on 16 January 1711, aged 59.
News Letter-Diocese of Galle
declared a saint by the Catholic church has concluded. A Diocesan Inquiry of a miracle attributed
to Vaz took place in the month of October 2013.
In November 2013, Patriarch Filipe Neri Ferrao
stated that the cause for Vaz's canonisation had
reached a 'crucial stage'. On 17 September 2014,
Pope Francis approved the decision of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to canonise
Blessed Joseph Vaz.
The subject of his beatification was first urged
upon the consideration of the Holy See about
1737 by Francisco de Vasconcellos, S.J., Bishop
of Cochin, who also claimed jurisdiction over
The process was begun in Goa, and a number of
miracles were registered. But the non-fulfilment
of certain essential formalities led Pope Benedict
XIV to cancel the proceedings, with an order,
however, that they should be re-instituted. The
Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies, Ladislaus
Zaleski (1852–1925), who was resident in Kandy,
kept hearing reports of this saintly priest. He did
his own research about him, was a great admirer
of Joseph Vaz and published a multi-issued biography of him. The beatification process was resumed later and completed in 1953 by the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. On 21 January 1995,
he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Colombo.
Cause for Canonization
So far the only school named in honor of Vaz is
the Joseph Vaz College of Wennappuwa, which
was founded in January 1935 by the Marist Brothers (initiated 1933).
There is a parish dedicated to Vaz in Mudipu.
There is also a chapel under his patronage in a
remote village called Aluthwewa, about 10 miles
off Galewela, in the Parish of Wahakotte. There is
a small community of Christians who are migrant
farmers from Wahakotte there who brought the
devotion to him.
On September 17, 2014, the Vatican announced
that Blessed Joseph Vaz, "the Apostle of Sri
Lanka" will be declared a saint during Pope Francis' visit to the island nation scheduled to take
place Jan. 13-15, 2015. The Pope approved the
vote by the Ordinary Session of Cardinals and
Bishops in favor of canonization of the Indianborn priest and decided to summon a Consistory
Pope Francis has bent the rules once again and
dispensed with a second miracle, a requirement
for canonization. The Pope had used the same
process he used to canonize St. John XXIII without a second miracle attributed to his intercession.
The canonisation process for Joseph Vaz to be Courtesy: Internet
News Letter - Diocese of Galle
Handing over the ownership of the Houses built for the
affected people of Tsunami 2004
[ Local News]
“ We hope your life will be
even better with the handing
over of the ownership of the
houses we built, for each one
of you …."
Bishop Raymond reminds the
beneficiaries at a simple event
to hand over the Deeds to the
The Most Rev Dr Raymond
Kingsley Wickramasinghe, the
Bishop of Galle emphasized
this while addressing the people, at the ceremony in handing
over of deeds to the occupants
of Caritas Tsunami Housing
Village at Kalupe, Hikkaduwa.
He remembered the contributions made by Caritas Sri Lanka, Rev. Fr Herman Fernando and Rev. Fr
Damian Arsakularatne, the former Directors of Caritas SED Galle and the foreign community who donated
financially to Caritas SED Galle to construct these beautiful houses in a massive tsunami reconstruction
His Lordship handed over deeds to 32 occupants of
houses at Caritas Tsunami Housing Village, Kalupe,
in Divisional Secretariat of Hikkaduwa.
These houses were constructed for those who lost
their houses due to tsunami devastation occurred on
24thDecember 2004 by Caritas SEDE Galle, the
Social, Economic and Development Education Centre of Catholic Diocese of Galle under the massive
Relief and Reconstruction Programme.
Honourable Pujjapada Rathnadhamma Thero from
the Bodirukkarama Temple,Kalupe, Honourable
Manoj Mendis, the Chairman of Pradeshiya Sabha,
Rathgama, a representative from the Disaster Management Unit at Galle and the Grama Niladhari of
Kalupe also participated the simple ceremony to hand over deeds to the occupants of houses which were
constructed at a cost of over Rs 70 million.
Rev. Fr Michael Rajendram, the present Director of Caritas SED Galle was instrumental in organizing this
simple ceremony to hand over the deeds of the houses.
By H.D.A. Perera
Caritas SED Galle
News Letter-Diocese of Galle
[ Local News]
Bishop Elmo’s Birthday -
PMS (England) visits Diocese of Galle
From the Legion of Mary News Desk:
A Pandol for Christmas at Deniaya
Pics By Rev. Fr. Bede de Silva
News Letter - Diocese of Galle
Rev. Fr. Naveen Jude de Silva
10th January
Rev. Fr. Sandanam Daniel
11th January
Rev. Fr. Bernard Fernando
13th January
Rev. Fr. Bernard Jayasinghe SJ
14th January
Rev. Fr. Bernard Wijeratne
17th January
Rev. Sr. Ajitha SCJM
(Matara Community)
1st January
Rev. Sr. Nadeesha Aponsu DM
(Halpathota Community)
1st January
Rev. Sr. Hariet SCJM
(Supem Uyana Community)
15th January
Rev. Sr. Sandamali SCJM
(Matara Community)
25th January
Rev. Sr. Sandya SCJM
(Galle Community)
29th January
Anniversary of Episcopal Ordination of His Lordship
Most Rev. Dr. Elmo N.J. Perera
Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Galle
06th January
Rev. Fr. Naveen Jude de Silva
29th January
Rev. Sr. Mary Angela HA
(Tangalle Community)
27th January
News Letter-Diocese of Galle
Inter- Parish Youth Crib Competition 2014
[ Local News]
An opportunity was given this year also to the youth to be creative in designing the parish crib
under the theme ‘Where is the Birth of Christ?’ It was interesting to observe various creative crib
designs. First place was won by Elpitiya parish, second place by Ganegama Parish and the third
place by Galle parish. Consolation prizes were won by Balapitiya and Tangalle parishes.
Elpitiya parish has depicted that Christ today is born into a world fully technologically advanced but the real birth of Christ should take place in our hearts.
Ganegama parish has depicted that the birth of Christ should take place in the simplicity of
our hearts.
Galle parish has depicted whether one is rich or poor, Christ should be born in our hearts.
Congratulations to all the winners !
Fr. Naveen Jude de Silva - Diocesan Youth Director
Celebration of Holy Eucharist and Canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz
LIVE from Galle Face Green, Colombo
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 from 8.00 a.m.