Bishop’s Monthly Letter
My dear Fathers,
Let me wish all of you and our beloved faithful and Religious a grace-filled and peaceful New Year 2019.
As already decided upon, this year will be dedicated to “ Jesus our Hope”. It is after wide consultation and discussion with the Clergy and laity that we decided to dedicate this year in this manner. We now need to consolidate and deepen our faith commitment by deepening our trust in Jesus and the Gospel. Today in more ways than one our faithful find life a veritable struggle. Besides economic hardships and illnesses our lives are beset by so many worries and anxieties. Evil is forcefully impinging on our families.The youth and the children in particular are exposed to so many social evils from which they need to be protected by the Lord Himself.
Even though our faithful by and large are devout, still their faith-commitment is expressed in multiplicity of pious acts and devotions such as novenas and pilgrimages and fulfillment of the basic obligation of attending Sunday Mass. What we need to emphasize today is that a profound experience of God in Jesus is essential for an authentic Christian life. Unless our lives change from being half-hearted faith to Christ-Centered lives at all levels, the future seems rather bleak.
Therefore, by declaring this year as the “Year of hope in Jesus”, let us make every effort to reorient all our pastoral ministry and activities to help our people to come to know the Lord Jesus “more clearly” and to love Him “more dearly” and to follow Him “ more closely”. For this purpose I would suggest that following programmes be implemented with immediate effect.
Besides these suggestions every parish and Institution will have to draw up the annual pastoral plan with its own pastoral context being taken in consideration. The pastoral plan of each parish will be shared within the next three months at our Monthly Recollections.
My dear Fathers, the success of this year with its theme “Jesus our hope” will be a success, if our own spirituality is deepened, to be Christ- Centered and we truly endeavour to become men of God and men of prayer. Therefore, may I appeal to you to make every endeavour to be “Faithful to Jesus and the Gospel in all our struggles and challenges” and lead our people to the font of salvation ,Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note that the Holy Childhood Sunday is on the 27th of January. Kindly organise meaningful programmes to make our children little missionaries of Jesus.
With prayerful wishes for a deeply Christ- Centered New Year, by helping our people to be “faithful to Jesus and the Gospel in their daily struggles and challenges”.
Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Bishop Vianney Fernando,
Bishop of Kandy
The Holy Father’s Prayer intention for January – 2019
Evangelization : Young People and the Example of Mary
That young people specially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world
Bishop’s Engagements in January
1st 7.00 am – Holy Mass in Tamil on the Solemnity of Mother of God at St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy
4th 11.00 am – Meeting with a delegation from the German Bishops’ Conference at Gatambe
8th, 9th – Colombo
13th – Feast of St. Joseph Vaz at the Shrine of Ampitiya
15th – Vespers at the Benedictine Juniorate at Katugastota
16th 5.00 pm – Solemnity of St. Joseph Vaz at St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy
20th – Feast of St. Sebastian at Cholankanda, Nawalapitiya
25th 10.00 am – Laying of the foundation-stone to renovate old St. Patrick’s School, Talawakelle.
27th – Annual Cursillo Convention at St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya, Colombo
28th & 29th – Clergy Monthly Recollection – Lewella
Recollection Dates – 2019
January – 28th & 29th
February – 25th & 26th
March – No Recollection
April – 15th & 16th
May – 20th & 21th
June – 24th & 25th
July – 29th & 30th
August – 19th – 23rd – Annual Retreat
September – No Recollection
October – 28th & 29th
November – No Recollection
December – 16th & 17th
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE 52nd WORLD DAY OF PEACE 1 JANUARY 2019
Good politics is at the service of peace
In sending his disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you” (Lk 10:5-6). Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history. The “house” of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our “common home”: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate. So let this be my greeting at the beginning of the New Year: “Peace be to this house!”
Peace is like the hope which the poet Charles Péguy celebrated. It is like a delicate flower struggling to blossom on the stony ground of violence. We know that the thirst for power at any price leads to abuses and injustice. Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions, but when political life is not seen as a form of service to society as a whole, it can become a means of oppression, marginalization and even destruction.
Jesus tells us that, “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9:35). In the words of Pope Paul VI, “to take politics seriously at its different levels – local, regional, national and worldwide – is to affirm the duty of each individual to acknowledge the reality and value of the freedom offered him to work at one and the same time for the good of the city, the nation and all mankind”.
Political office and political responsibility thus constantly challenge those called to the service of their country to make every effort to protect those who live there and to create the conditions for a worthy and just future. If exercised with basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons, political life can indeed become an outstanding form of charity.
Pope Benedict XVI noted that “every Christian is called to practice charity in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the pólis… When animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater worth than a merely secular and political stand would have… Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family”. This is a programme on which all politicians, whatever their culture or religion, can agree, if they wish to work together for the good of the human family and to practice those human virtues that sustain all sound political activity: justice, equality, mutual respect, sincerity, honesty, fidelity.
In this regard, it may be helpful to recall the “Beatitudes of the Politician”, proposed by Vietnamese Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyễ n Vãn Thuậ n, a faithful witness to the Gospel who died in 2002:
Blessed be the politician with a lofty sense and deep understanding of his role. Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility. Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest. Blessed be the politician who remains consistent. Blessed be the politician who works for unity. Blessed be the politician who works to accomplish radical change. Blessed be the politician who is capable of listening. Blessed be the politician who is without fear.
Every election and re-election, and every stage of public life, is an opportunity to return to the original points of reference that inspire justice and law. One thing is certain: good politics is at the service of peace. It respects and promotes fundamental human rights, which are at the same time mutual obligations, enabling a bond of trust and gratitude to be forged between present and future generations.
When the exercise of political power aims only at protecting the interests of a few privileged individuals, the future is compromised and young people can be tempted to lose confidence, since they are relegated to the margins of society without the possibility of helping to build the future. But when politics concretely fosters the talents of young people and their aspirations, peace grows in their outlook and on their faces. It becomes a confident assurance that says, “I trust you and with you I believe” that we can all work together for the common good. Politics is at the service of peace if it finds expression in the recognition of the gifts and abilities of each individual. “What could be more beautiful than an outstretched hand? It was meant by God to offer and to receive. God did not want it to kill (cf. Gen 4:1ff) or to inflict suffering, but to offer care and help in life. Together with our heart and our intelligence, our hands too can become a means of dialogue”. Everyone can contribute his or her stone to help build the common home. Authentic political life, grounded in law and in frank and fair relations between individuals, experiences renewal whenever we are convinced that every woman, man and generation brings the promise of new relational, intellectual, cultural and spiritual energies.
That kind of trust is never easy to achieve, because human relations are complex, especially in our own times, marked by a climate of mistrust rooted in the fear of others or of strangers, or anxiety about one’s personal security. Sadly, it is also seen at the political level, in attitudes of rejection or forms of nationalism that call into question the fraternity of which our globalized world has such great need.
Today more than ever, our societies need “artisans of peace” who can be messengers and authentic witnesses of God the Father, who wills the good and the happiness of the human family.
In these days, we celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in the wake of the Second World War. In this context, let us also remember the observation of Pope John XXIII: “Man’s awareness of his rights must inevitably lead him to the recognition of his duties. The possession of rights involves the duty of implementing those rights, for they are the expression of a man’s personal dignity. And the possession of rights also involves their recognition and respect by others”. Peace, in effect, is the fruit of a great political project grounded in the mutual responsibility and interdependence of human beings. But it is also a challenge that demands to be taken up ever anew. It entails a conversion of heart and soul; it is both interior and communal; and it has three inseparable aspects: – peace with oneself, rejecting inflexibility, anger and impatience; in the words of Saint Francis de Sales, showing “a bit of sweetness towards oneself” in order to offer “a bit of sweetness to others”; – peace with others: family members, friends, strangers, the poor and the suffering, being unafraid to encounter them and listen to what they have to say; – peace with all creation, rediscovering the grandeur of God’s gift and our individual and shared responsibility as inhabitants of this world, citizens and builders of the future. The politics of peace, conscious of and deeply concerned for every situation of human vulnerability, can always draw inspiration from the Magnificat, the hymn that Mary, the Mother of Christ the Saviour and Queen of Peace, sang in the name of all mankind: “He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm; he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly; …for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever” (Lk 1:50-55).
From the Vatican, 8 December 2018
Saints of the Month……. 01. St. Sebastian Sebastian was the son of a wealthy Roman family. He was educated in Milan and became an officer of the imperial Roman army, and Captain of the Guard. He was a favorite of Emperor Diocletian. During Diocletian’s persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing both supplies and comfort. He is reported to have healed the wife of a fellow soldier by making the sign of the cross over her. During his time in the army he converted many soldiers and a governor. Charged as a Christian in 288 in Rome, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. However, he survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian, where the emperor then had him beaten to death. During the 14th century, the random nature of the black plague caused people to say that the plague was introduced to their villages through being shot by natures archers. In desperation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague.
It is unclear what we really know of Paul’s life, how much is fable, how much is fact. Paul was reportedly born in Egypt, where he was orphaned by age 15. He was also a learned and devout young man. During the persecution of Decius in Egypt in the year 250, Paul was forced to hide in the home of a friend. Fearing a brother-in-law would betray him, he fled in a cave in the desert. His plan was to return once the persecution ended, but the sweetness of solitude and heavenly contemplation convinced him to stay. He went on to live in that cave for the next 90 years. A nearby spring gave him drink, a palm tree furnished him clothing and nourishment. After 21 years of solitude, a bird began bringing him half of a loaf of bread each day. Without knowing what was happening in the world, Paul prayed that the world would become a better place. Saint Anthony of Egypt attests to his holy life and death. Tempted by the thought that no one had served God in the wilderness longer than he, Anthony was led by God to find Paul and acknowledge him as a man more perfect than himself. The raven that day brought a whole loaf of bread instead of the usual half. As Paul predicted, Anthony would return to bury his new friend. Thought to have been about 112 when he died, Paul is known as the “First Hermit.” His feast day is celebrated in the East; he is also commemorated in the Coptic and Armenian rites of the Mass.
Father Joseph Vaz was born on April 21, 1651, in India. He was a Goan, born in Benaulim, and was raised in the villages of Benaulim and Sancoale. was a Catholic Oratorian priest from Goa. He is known as the Apostle of Ceylon.Fr. Vaz entered Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) during the Dutch occupation, when Calvinism was the official religion. He traveled throughout the island bringing the Eucharist and the sacraments to clandestine groups of Catholics. Later in his mission, he found shelter in the Kandyan kingdom where he was able to work freely. At the time of his death, Fr. Vaz managed to rebuild the Catholic church on the island. On 21 January 1995, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Colombo. He was canonized a Saint on the 14th January 2015 by Pope Francis in Galle Face Green park, Colombo.
Taken From : CatholicSaints.Info
A Saint gave Kandy Sri Lanka’s First Native Bishop
In 1912 Pope St. Pius X gave the Diocese of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s first native Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Bede Beekmeyer, O.S.B.
The following is his first address to his beloved Priests
Lord Abbot, Venerable Fathers. Twelve months ago, today, at this hour, we were assembled in this sacred edifice with feelings entirely different to what possess our hearts today. We were then assembled with heads bent in sorrow, our hearts crushed, with tears in our eyes; we were assembled here to pay, for the last time, our mournful respects to the mortal remains of the illustrious, universally loved, and therefore equally universally lamented Clement Pagnani, the first Bishop of this diocese. Your hearts were then heaving with poignant sorrow by reason of the irreparable loss that befell us, a loss which only those who knew Bishop Pagnani and had experienced his affability can adequately esti-mate; and today, exactly an year after the mournful incident, events have so arranged themselves We, though infinitely unworthy of the great honour which it has pleased the Holy Father to confer on Us, have been chosen to succeed him and take possession of this Diocese widowed the demise of her Spouse. You, venerable Fathers, in offering us your obedience, have ac-cepted us as your Pastor and Shepherd. Pressing you one and all in our hearts, we thank you most cordially for your submission. Ever mindful of the noble calling to which both we and you, venerable Fathers, have been selected by God – the propagation of the Gospel of the Cross and the salvation of souls – exhort you. We earnestly implore you to render us every co-operation and assistance in whatever office or capacity you are placed, whether you are bravely toiling under the fierce sun, climbing mountains or penetrating valleys in search of souls to be gained; or whether you are occupied in the patient, arduous task of cultivating and learning in the tender minds of the youthful; render Us, I beseech you, your unstinted and assistance that our Lord and Saviour may be known, loved and served throughout the length and breadth of our diocese, so that as the Royal Prophet says •• Flumina plaudent manu simul monies exultabunt'” because you have brought salvation to the Buddhists and the heathen. The obedience and reverence we expect from Venerable Fathers, are not in regard to our person for We are fully alive to Our and defects which are many ; we are but a vessel of common clay. is not regard of our that We demand of you obedience and reverence, but authority with which we been vested, bearing in mind the words Christ used when He bestowed
on His disciples the Apostolic Mission, “He that heareth you, heareth me, and he that despisetli you despisetli me”. On Our part, Venerable Fathers, We will ever keep before: the eyes of Our· mind those other words. of Holy Writ, “He that is greater among you let him become as the younger; and he that is the reaper as he that soweth”. Thus, Venerable Fathers, both you and We will ‘cheerfully water the Apostolic ground with our sweat, encouraging .and helping one another, so that, hereafter we shall be able to gather in a rich and abundant harvest of souls for the Master of’ the vineyard, and merit the eternal reward which He has prom-ised to all who strenuously labour for-the salvation of souls.
Lift up your experienced, zealous eyes, and behold how great is the harvest and how few the labourers – are we, Venerable Fathers, therefore, to grow despondent. and salve. our conscience by saying, “We cannot do more _than what we have always done?” No, Venerable Fathers, emphatically no; where the salvation of souls is concerned the word CANNOT does not exist for the truly zealous missionary; seeing the exigencies of the diocese he will double and treble himself, he will say with the Apostle of the Gentiles Impendar et superimpendar= I will spend and be spent myself. We charge you, Venerable Fathers, to cultivate vocations for the priesthood, and to you venerable Prelate, we look to the further strength-ening of our missionary band so as to be able to cope adequately with the great burden which the Holy Father has placed on our frail shoul-ders; adopt many sons to the holy St Sylvester, engender in their hearts the spirit of obedience, the spirit of humility, in one word instill.intotheir · hearts, into the very depths of their· hearts, the spirit of the Apostle. Doing this, you will be-consoled in the mellow years of your life with the words of Ecclesiasticus: nepotes eorum, et in semen One word more; Venerable Fathers; It has to be borne in mind that we are a detachment of that great army which Christ has sent out this world to constantly-war against the enemy old, to defeat him and to snatch from him souls for heaven, those souls which have been purchased at the price of Christ’s. Most Precious Blood. Now, to cur army there can be only one who is in command and who directs all movements he thinks advantageous. Likewise, Ven. Fathers, you are the soldiers and We the officer in command. Respect and carry out the orders and instructions we shall think fit to communicate to you, even “though they may sometimes happen not to be in consonance with your personal views. Doing this you will be united to Us and We to the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the absolute General of the Church Militant, and nothing but success can be ours, and the standard of Christ shall stand pre-eminent and numberless souls will be gained to swell the ranks ·of the-Church Triumphant.
Sent by: Rev. Fr. Denzil Perera
10 Amazing New Year’s Resolutions for Your Spiritual Life
Here are ten ideas for simple, practical ways you can improve your interior life in the new year and beyond. Don’t be afraid to “fail.” Just keep moving forward and start anew
Simplify your life. In a spiritual sense, simplicity involves decluttering our mental and emotional states of being, too. It means getting rid of the cobwebs and distractions that might deter us from focusing on what really matters. Start to simplify by cutting out ten minutes of wasted time each day and using it for something productive. For example, if you spend an inordinate amount of time playing internet or video games, scanning your social media accounts, or watching hours of television, time yourself to see how long you spend doing these activities. Then cut out ten minutes. Set a timer for a reminder.
Read one spiritual book per month. Let’s face it: most of us say we “don’t have time” to read anything more than a fun fantasy novel or browse a fluffy magazine. While these aren’t in and of themselves bad, why not swap some time spent reading something that will inspire you to grow in virtue and rid your life of vice
Attend a monthly recollection. If you plan ahead, you can make the time for a weekend retreat once per year. Yes, it’s going to involve a bit of a stretch with your schedule, but if you commit to it, you won’t regret it. The best part about attending a retreat is that everything is already planned, so all you have to do is block out two days and show up. Even a one-day retreat is worth the effort and will enrich your life if you attend with an open heart.
Pray the Rosary daily. This seriously takes maybe five to seven minutes of your time. Our family prays a decade a day with our kids at night before bed, and we offer an entire Rosary on Sundays as part of our Sabbath celebration. The Rosary is a very powerful prayer and often calms those who faithfully recite it. Even if you find yourself getting fidgety or distracted, keep pressing forward with it and persevere.
Volunteer. This can be for anything. You might discern that volunteering suits your entire family. Discuss with your spouse and children what options seem to be the best fit for where your concerns and gifts are. In my family, our oldest daughter is very concerned with the plight of the poor and homeless
Keep the Sabbath holy. A lot of people consider Sundays to be “just another day” of the week. Unfortunately, many Catholics have also made Sunday another day to cram in extra work around the house or to run errands. It’s because we are otherwise so busy that Sunday is almost a necessity for getting something accomplished.Then spend Sundays together as a family. Worship together, pray together, rest, spend time in quiet, take a nap! You will discover an entirely new perspective, attitude, and physical refreshment as you begin your work or school week on Monday if you make some minor adjustments.
Go to Confession once a month. This one might be one of the most intimidating and daunting suggestions of all the resolutions listed so far. Don’t let your fears deter you from cleansing your soul through this Sacrament. It is often declared as the most underutilized Sacrament that we, as Catholics, have available to us.First, find out when Confessions are offered at your parish. Then, write it on your calendar for each month. Make it a family affair. For older kids who have already received their First Reconciliation, this is a fantastic spiritual lesson that can jumpstart great conversations about forgiveness, how we can make amends to those we hurt, and how we can change our bad habits or help each other make those changes.
Start a prayer journal. This doesn’t have to be complex. A simple spiral notebook kept at your bedside – or wherever you spend time in prayer – suffices. Make a daily habit of writing whatever spiritual thoughts inspire you. Sometimes this might be a gratitude list, a simple prayer, a letter to God, or a quote from a saint or Scripture. Revisit your journal when you find yourself in a spiritual slump for encouragement.
Listen more. Try to make a habit of listening to others before you offer your opinion or thoughts. When with family, friends, or neighbors, allow them to talk, perhaps interjecting a few clarifying questions now and then. As you develop a more natural penchant for attentive listening, you will discover that it is much easier to discipline yourself to hear God’s voice instead of chattering on to Him ad infinitum. In the space that silence affords you, allow God to speak to your heart and respond to Him with love.
Give your failures, weaknesses, and sins to God. The worst mistake we can make in our spiritual journeys is to give up when we do not meet our expectations or goals. There will be times in your calendar year when you are unable to fulfill your spiritual commitments, perhaps due to an injury, illness, accident, death, or supremely busy period of life. The point here is to offer up your discouragement, disappointments, and frustrations to God as a prayer.
Sent By: Fr. Surendra Pragash
02nd – Wed – Rev. Fr. Gabriel Gunasekaran
04th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Malith Prasad
06th – Sun – Rev. Fr. Locksley Peiris
13th – Sun – Rev. Fr. Prasanna Warnakulasuriya
16th – Wed – Rev. Fr. Anton Gavaskaer – Rev. Bro. Lionel Perera, OSB
17th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Lalith Thushara Amerasinghe
21st – Mon – Rev. Fr. Timothy Gnanapragasam
25th – Fri – Rev. Fr. B. L. D. Paul
26th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Ignatius Samarakoon
11th – Fri – Rev. Fr. D. Soosainathan, OSB
15th – Tue – Rev. Fr. Niroshana de Zoysa – Rev. Fr. Gabriel Gunasekaran
19th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Roy Clarence – Rev. Fr. Christy Paul
20th – Sun – Rev. Fr. John Winston
26th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Valentine Ekanayake, OSB
07th – Mon – Rev. Fr. Anselm Weerasinghe, OSB
08th – Tue – Rev. Fr. T. D. Manuel
11th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Marius Fernandez, OSB
19th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Joseph Rodrigo
20th – Sun – Rev. Fr. Gregory Pheobus, OSB
22nd – Tue – Rev. Fr. F. M. Gunatillake