Bishop’s Monthly Letter
My dear Rev. Fathers,
Now that the Pastoral Letter for the year 2020 has been released to all of you and our faithful at our January monthly recollection, I would urge that the contents of the pastoral letter be diffused to our religious and faithful in all our parishes and institutions. If you need more prints of the pastoral letter you can get it done yourself at parish level. As I mentioned, the pastoral letter is long and therefore, should not be read out during the Sunday Masses. Please take measures to explain the pastoral letter to your parish councils, movements, associations and other parish gatherings.
It is absolutely urgent that we embark on the programmes suggested to inculcate in all sectors of God’s people the missionary vocation of every baptized Christian. From the enthusiastic reception of the pastoral letter by our presbyterium, I am confident that we would achieve the objective of bringing about a profound missionary revival at all levels in our diocese.
Please encourage all our faithful to read and reflect throughout the year, ‘The Acts of the Apostles’ in the New Testament as it is the handbook for missionary disciples. As I mentioned ‘MISSIO AD GENTES’ as received by the Apostolic tradition and sealed by the second Vatican Council is the valid foundational model and paradigm of the evangelizing mission of the Church. In this whole process of missionary revival, we need the dimension of prayer to be emphasized because mission is the work of God, ‘ACTIO DEI’. The principle agent of mission is the Holy Spirit. It is not a mere human initiative. The Church is the servant of mission. The Church’s mission is to proclaim the Gospel and to witness to it among those around us, with the objective of enabling others to encounter Jesus Christ and the Gospel.
Let us carefully reflect with our people on the words of our universal shepherd Pope Francis, addressed to the executive committee of CELAM at Bogotá on 7th Sep 2017. “The mission of Jesus placed in the heart of the Church, must be the CRITERION of spiritual discernment to evaluate the effectiveness of its pastoral structures, the results of its Apostolic work, the fruitfulness of its ministers, and the joy that we are capable of communicating because, without joy we are not able to attract anyone. Every Parish should make the style of the ‘Missio ad Gentes’ its own, so that the Holy Spirit will transform habitual faithful into DISCIPLES, and dissatisfied disciples into MISSIONARIES, drawing them out of fears and closures and propelling them in every direction, to the ends of the earth”.
I will be away in the month of February from 5th to 23th from the Diocese. In my absence, Very Rev. Fr. Milroy Fonseka, the Vicar General will be the administrator.
Wishing all of you and our beloved faithful God’s abundant blessings,
Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Bishop Vianney Fernando,
Bishop of Kandy
Bishop’s Engagements in February
1st 9.30 am – Confirmation Service in Maskeliya
4th 10.30 am – Feast of Our Lady of Lanka, National Seminary Feast
5th to 23rd – In Australia
28th 4.30 pm – Inauguration of Kandurata Calvary at Sancta Maria
Rev. Fr. Gunesekaran – Legion of Mary Coordinator for Matale Deanery
Rev. Fr. Dilan Perera – Holy Childhood Coordinator for Nuwara Eliya Deanery
Pope’s Intention for February
Listen to the Migrants’ Cries
We pray that the cries of our migrant brothers and sisters, victims of criminal trafficking, may be heard and considered
Feast of St. Anthony, Mattakelle Parish
9th – HOISTING OF THE FLAG
10th – “Mission through Liturgy” Rev. Fr. Charles Mariadas
11th – “Common Priesthood and Mission” Rev. Fr. Dosmin Raj
12th – “Mission through family” Rev. Fr. Roshan Dilrukshan
13th – “Mission through SCC” Rev. Fr. A.Mathew
14th – Sacrament of Reconciliation and Prayer Service – “Mission through God- Experience” Rev. Fr. Jesudasan
15th – SOLEMN VESPERS – 6.00 pm Newly Ordained Priests : Rev. Fr. Nalinert, Rev. Fr. Ranga Chalitha and Rev. Fr. Roninson
16th – FESTIVE MASS – 9.30 am Very Rev. Fr. Milroy Fonseka Vicar General of our Diocese
Sent By : Rev. Fr. Satkunarajah—Parish Priest
3rd Year Essay & Lesson Planning Seminar (Diocesan Programme)
Date : 22nd February 2020 Medium : Sinhala & Tamil Place : St. Anthony’s Cathedral Hall, Kandy
Sent By : Rev. Fr. Camillus Janzs, Director – Catechetical Apostolate
Holy Childhood Animators Training Program (Sinhala Medium) Dates : 6th, 7th & 8th February 2020 Place : Kadugannawa Centre
Sent By : Rev. Fr. Leslie Perera, Director – PMS
Media Course on Every Friday and Saturday From 9.00 am to 3.00 pm At Our Media Centre
Sent By : Rev. Fr. Leslie Perera,Director – Media Apostolate
What is the meaning of Ash Wednesday?
It marks first day of the 40 days of Lent, a roughly six-week period (not including Sundays) dedicated to reflection, prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter. It ends on Holy Thursday, the fifth day of Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter) that marks the Last Supper. In addition to certain rules about foods and fasting, many Christians (and even non-Christians) abstain from additional foods, luxury or material goods or certain activities and habits.
Why do people put ashes on their head on Ash Wednesday?
You may see a lot of people with black crosses on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. The ashes are obtained from the burning of the palms of the previous Palm Sunday, which occurs on the Sunday before Easter, and applied during services. Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ return to Jerusalem, when people waved palm branches to celebrate his arrival. The ashes are typically mixed with Holy Water or oil.
Why is it called Ash Wednesday?
The ashes, applied in the shape of a cross, are a symbol of penance, mourning and mortality. Centuries ago, participants used to sprinkle themselves with ashes and repent much more publicly, but the practice fell away sometime between the 8th-10th century before evolving into what it is today. There aren’t any particular rules about how long the ashes should be worn, but most people wear them throughout the day as a public expression of their faith and penance.
What are other Ash Wednesday traditions?
On Ash Wednesday, Catholic adults must observe a fast—eating only one large meal or two small meals. Those meals must not contain any meat. In fact, Catholics 14 and older must refrain from eating meat on every Friday from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday. In accordance with Lent as a time of abstinence, many Catholics choose to give something up or change an ingrained habit during the 40-day period. The Church also encourages the faithful to give more time to prayer and charity before the celebration of Easter.
Taken from : http://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/ash-wednesday/
Pope Francis : Essence of life is our relationship with God
The diseases of the soul need to be healed and the medicine is to ask for forgiveness. Basing himself on the miracle of the healing of the paralytic by Jesus, Pope Francis made this point in his homily at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis delivered a homily based on Jesus’ miraculous healing of the paralytic in St. Mark’s Gospel. Unable to approach Jesus in the packed house in Capernaum, the four men lowered the paralytic on a mat from the roof. The Pope drew attention to the first words of Jesus: “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus later orders him to get up, take up his mat and go home. Jesus, a man of God, the Pope said, heals but He is not a medicine man. He teaches but is more than a teacher and in this episode, He focuses on what is essential. The Pope said that physical health is a gift that we must preserve but the Lord teaches us that we must also preserve the health of the heart, spiritual health. The Holy Father picked out other instances where Jesus focuses on the essential. In the episode of the sinful and weeping woman, Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven”. But those present are scandalized, the Pope said, because there is prophecy, there is strength. In the same way, to the sick man who never got to the pool on time to be healed, Jesus says, “Do not sin anymore.”
Fear of encounter with the Lord To the Samaritan woman who asks so many questions, Jesus goes to what is essential in life. The Pope said that “relationship with God is essential.” “We often forget this as if afraid of an encounter with the Lord, with God”. He said we do a lot for our physical health, we advise ourselves regarding doctors and medicines, which is good, the Pope said, “but do we think about the health of the heart?” The words of Jesus to the paralytic, the Pope said, can help us in this. Jesus tells him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” The Pope noted that we get so used to this medicine of forgiveness of our sins and mistakes that it gets watered down and loses the strength and the power of prophecy of Jesus when He focusses on the essential. And today Jesus tells each one of us: “I want to forgive your sins”.
Medicine of forgiveness The Pope further pointed out that perhaps someone may not find sins to confess because “there is a lack of awareness of sins”. The medicine needed to be healed from “concrete sins”, “diseases of the soul”, the Pope said, is forgiveness. It is simple when Jesus goes to the essentials., the Pope said. The health of both body and soul is essential. Watching over our body and the soul, he said, we go to that Doctor who can heal us, who can forgive our sins. He is Jesus who came for this and gave His life for this, the Pope said.
Midwives might have the most noble of all professions Francis asks for prayers for nurses and midwives as 2020 has been designated their year
Pope Francis on January 19 applauded the designation of 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.” He suggested that “midwives carry out perhaps the noblest of the professions.” And nurses, he said, are not only the most numerous of health care workers, but also those “closest to the sick. “The Holy Father has often mentioned his esteem for health care professionals, especially nurses, one of whom he credits with saving his life. In 2018, he departed from a prepared text to praise this nurse: With your permission, I’d like to pay tribute to a nurse who saved my life. She was a religious nurse: an Italian Dominican sister, who was sent to Greece as a professor, highly educated … But as a nurse, then, she arrived in Argentina. And when I, at the age of twenty, was at the point of dying, she was the one to tell the doctors, even arguing with them, ‘No, this isn’t right, we need to give more.’ And thanks to those things, I survived. I thank her so much! I thank her. And I’d like to say her name here, in your presence: Sister Cornelia Caraglio. A great woman, brave too, to the point of arguing with the doctors. Humble, but sure of what she was doing. The pope invited prayers for all nurses and midwives. “Let us pray for all of them, that they may do their precious work in the best possible way,” he said
Taken From : Vatican News
Missionaries and Revival
Pentecost Not long after the ascension of Lord Jesus Christ came Pentecost (Acts 2). It was a time of revival when the Holy Spirit was poured out in the upper room. The brethren then went outside and Peter preached and those listening were ‘cut to the heart’ and around three thousand people were added to the Church. This could be declared as the true beginnings of the Great Commission, Jesus’ command to, “Go into all the world…” and preach the good news (Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18). The 120 had waited in the upper room and had received their own enduement of power from on high and only then could they be witnesses in Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). Revivals have always given a thrust to evangelism and world missions and out of revival, lay-workers as well as men and women are thrust forth into fulltime Christian ministry; something which we are commanded to pray for – more labourers (Matthew 9:38).
In Acts 8 we see Philip the evangelists preaching in Samaria and revival breaks out as multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles that he did…and there was great joy in that city (Acts 8:5-8).
Missionaries and Revival
God does not work without the cooperation of His Church; without the willing vessels of the members of the body of Christ. Whilst He does not need us He has always chosen to use us. Revival can only come to a nation when disciples of the Lord Jesus have entered a geographical location and began to evangelise that nation and persistently call upon God to pour out His Spirit from on high. Rev. Duncan Campbell of the Lewis Revival (1949-1952) in Scotland said, “God is the God of revival but man is the human agent through whom revival is possible.”
Charles Finney, nineteenth century American revivalist wrote: ‘It is altogether improbable that religion will ever make progress among heathen nations, except through the influence of revivals. The attempt is now to do it by education and other cautious and gradual improvements. But as long as the laws of the mind remain what they are, it cannot be done in this way. There must be excitement sufficient to wake up the dormant moral powers and roll back the tide of degradation and sin.’ The Bible clearly states that in heaven there will be people out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation standing before the throne of God (Revelation 5:9 and Revelation 7:9). That is why we are called and commanded to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19) to hasten the coming of the day of God (2 Peter 3:12), because unless the gospel is preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations then the end cannot come (Matthew 24:14). As Romans chapter ten declares: ‘How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14-15).
Missionaries and Revivals The reason why so many missionaries saw revival is because they were fully committed and surrendered to the will of the Master. They knew the Holy Spirit as a Person and had a deep intimate communion with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. They were men and women of prayer, hardened prayer warriors, many of whom had been inspired by the revivals of the past and had a hope for the future. They did not limit God and knew His all sufficiency, His all powerful compassionate nature, the One who is only too willing to quench him who is thirsty and to pour out His Spirit on a dry and thirsty land, because He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and has stated that He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh.
Thus says the Lord: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also on My menservants and My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).
Some missionary pioneers paved the way for future revivals by their toil, intercession and blood, through martyrdom by the natives, death by disease or deprivation in the Master’s service.
Some of these pioneers who became revivalists were: David Brainerd and his love for the American Indians, John Beck who went to the frozen wasteland of Greenland, Robert Moffat in Kuruman, Southern Africa, Thomas Birch Freeman along the Gold Coast of West Africa, Adoniram Judson who laboured in Burma (modern day Myanmar), John Geddie from Novia Scotia in the evangelization of the islands of the Pacific, John G. Paton for the New Hebrides and C. T. Studd of central Africa (Belgian Congo) who declared the objective of his mission organization was to accomplish the evangelization of the unevangelized with the utmost urgency, with the motto: ‘If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.’
Taken from : https://www.byfaith.co.uk/paul2030.htm
Useful and valuable suggestions from a lay person
Here are some aspects and proposals which would make a Catholic with an ever green heart and mind, in the personal, parish and national as well as international level.
1. By making the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi as the Feast of the nature, be an asset to inculcate the fact of loving, protecting and preserving the nature in the mind of the faithful annually.
2. Like the manner, the Vincent De Paul Society, conscientizes the need and value of being charitable in the mind of the faithful; so it may be the need of the hour to proclaim a “Society of Francis of Assisi, in parish level in order to build up a group who could come forward to protect the nature and environment.
3. Let every Church and Church premise be made to the concept of ever green nature.
4. Include an institution regarding the nature and God’s creation within the prayers of the faithful in Saturday Liturgy/Holy Mass.
5. It is advisable to get an assessment report from NBRO (National Building Research Organization) prior to the constructing and preparing the ground to put up a Church. Anything that would destroy the nature due to construction or decoration should be avoided by a committee formed in the diocese or vicariate level. 6. Instruct, and give guidelines to avoid plastic and rigifoam or non-recyclable material at the festival occasions and be careful to use alternatives instead of later.
7. To avoid plastic decorations at funerals and pursue to use fabric flags made by Catholic committee.
8. Declare that all Churches be free from plastic and non-recyclable material area.
9. Introduce subjects concerning nature and God’s creation into the school text book syllabus and Sunday school syllabus.
10. “Theology of Nature” be a compulsory subject in the theology courses.
11. Encourage that every Catholic home to be a nature loving homes and to embrace the concept of contributing to ever green environment.
12. May the parish have a separate committee named and established to respect, protect and build up nature.
13. Let those who paid their lives as a price for protecting the nature and environment be highlighted as an appreciation to the service rendered in the sphere as a missionary.
14. On diocesan as well as parish level, we must mediate in the problems that emerges with regard to environment in the locality and at large in the country as well.
15. It must be made essential and obligatory to include the subject matter as to ‘How to protect and preserve the environment’ in the academic formation of priests and religious.
16. Let personal care and concern (sensitivity) to the environment be conscientized in mind of the faithful to measure their own depth of holiness and spirituality.
17. The destruction of nature and environment be considered as a result of greediness and the trend and habit of excessive consumerism which as equal as a heresy or idolatry. This fact must be brought forward for a deep discussion in order to promote the values of the kingdom of God in the day to day living.
18 Organize programmes on the subject of environment and nature in parish, diocesan and national level.
Written By : Mahindha Namal – Kalutara Translated By : Rev. Fr. Locksley Peiris
A quote from Pope Francis on
“The mission of the Christian in the world is a mission for all, a mission of service, which excludes no-one; it requires great generosity and in particular the gaze and heart turned heavenward to invoke the Lord’s help. There is so much need for Christians who bear witness to the Gospel with joy in everyday life. The disciples, sent by Jesus, ‘returned with joy’. When we do this, our heart fills with joy.”
— Angelus, July 3, 2016
Pope Francis : MESSENGER OF GOD ON A MISSION
“I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world. We have to regard ourselves as sealed, even branded, by this mission of bringing light, blessing, enlivening, raising up, healing and freeing.” (Evangelii Gaudium)
Jesus entrusts all of us with a mission: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15).
For some that may mean distant shores, for others in the very town they grew up in. But the moral of the story always remains the same: hear the cry of God’s people. They are waiting, and Pope Francis is going. He challenges us to do the same.
It requires our sail to be steered by the Spirit; which will make us leave port against the headwind of society, but catch the eternal current of what Jesus asks of us. It is not easy to untie the ropes that take us from the safety of our harbor, but did not God Himself choose a life far from comfort for His only Son? Do not be afraid of total abandonment; “we Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little things; stake your lives on noble ideals.” (Pope Francis).
Taken From : Vatican News
PRIESTHOOD – PROFESSION OR VOCATION
The dearth of vocations to priesthood and religious life haunts the Christian world. For, we need to seriously think of the call to Priesthood; whether it’s a profession/job or a vocation. Asian countries being the hub or cradle of priestly/religious vocations is also facing a setback.
Devout catholic families are thinking twice of sending their children for religious and priestly life. Even traditional catholic parishes are not coming forward to promote youngsters for such a way of life. Children and young boys particularly altar boys show willingness at the beginning but later give up the idea or leave the seminaries after finishing their public examinations expressing various reasons. They also say that the priests and religious don’t lead an exemplary life. Many a young and modern priests may not agree with me, when I say that we, the priests and religious are the main cause of this situation.
We treat or live the life of a priest and religious as a profession/job and not as a vocation – call of God to take the mission of Jesus into the whole world. Our job description is to say mass on Sundays and holy days, conduct healing services and novenas. These activities are held in great pomp and glory and try to bring the heavens down during the services. Some make use of these to collect money and make the people to bring offerings and organize offertory procession. They even announce that a collection would be done. There are fervent devotees who attend these religious services and say, “ physician heal thyself” or say that “ we would like to see our priest praying and celebrating holy masses and attend to the sacrament of confession and anointing of the sick.
At present the priest in the parish does not say daily mass or recite the breviary or be available for the sacraments. For the slightest reason they cancel the mass. Still worse, the sacraments are not recorded in the relevant parish registers which causes terrible problem for the parties concerned later on.
The sacraments of Baptism and anointing of the sick are done at the request of the parents, the former is to admit the child to a prestigious catholic school and the latter for a catholic burial. In the monasteries, seminaries and religious houses the liturgy is celebrated in great piety; but in the parishes we lack to see a holy priest who can be a bridge between the people of God and the divine. It is sad to say that some don’t even celebrate mass on Sundays. From the pulpit we command the people to come for masses but we do not. The daily celebration of masses and the recitation of the divine office has become optional. Lay people come for daily masses and their devotional prayers touch our hearts. The people come to church if the homilies are brief and comes from the heart and not from the internet.
So many liturgical norms and canonical issues are taught; but seldom practiced or observed in the life of a pastor. We also place different inhuman laws on the people. When such laws are not observed the pastor puts restrictions on them and denies sacraments or Christian burial. As pastors we place strict laws on the poor; the estate people have to work practically every day to earn their daily bread; making them to come for Pre-Cana classes for five days without going for their work is truly inhuman. Being away from work would deprive them of their daily bread. It is unjust and even the poor people are aware of the injustice placed on them. It is because of such stringent or inhuman rules that some of the Catholics go outside the Church and get married or even leave the faith. Therefore it is opportune that we all get back for the daily celebration of holy mass and the recitation of the liturgical hours and be praying priests. Thus we will change our lives as praying priests and not be a job oriented priest.
Let us reconsider our vocation as priests and holy priests and holy shepherds of our flock and be with them. Its time for all of us to take note of our lives and the future of our mission in the Church of Jesus. Let St. Joseph Vas and other missionaries help us in our missionary journey.
Sent by : Fr. Clement Gnanapragasam OSB
Words of Wisdom
Your daily behavior reveals your deepest belief When people use your brand name as a verb that is remarkable. Behaviour breeds goodness, while a lack of it causes misery. Failure will never overtake you, if your determination to succeed is strong enough. Accept challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required. Dedication, Determination and Detail. The 3 D’s to success. My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really am. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on own ‘to do’ list. We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us. What’s coming will come and we’ll just have to meet it when it does. The idea of music is to liberate the listener and lead him to a frame where he feels he is elevated. You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by following over. You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else. There is no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business there. Great products sell themselves. Do not have hatred for anyone. Hatred will take the form of handcuff to your hands. A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.
Sent by Very Rev. Fr. Bala Rajendram
05th – Wed – Rev. Fr. Dosmin Raj
07th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Clement Gnanapragasam, OSB
09th – Sun – Rev. Fr. Colvin Fernandopulle
18th – Tue – Rev. Fr. M. N. Leonard
22nd – Sat – Rev. Fr. D. Michael Sandanam, OSB
24th – Mon – Rev. Fr. Alexis R. Fernando
03rd – Mon – Rev. Fr. Denzil M. Perera
27th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Leonard Wijeratne
– Rev. Fr. Malith Prasad
01st – Sat – Rev. Fr. Nilanka Dias
02nd – Sun – Rev. Fr. D. Joseph Paggnani, OSB
– Rev. Fr. Alexis Chiori, OSB
05th – Wed – Rev. Fr. Lanfrank Amerasinghe, OSB
10th – Mon – Rev. Fr. Lucian Perera