January 2017



 Bishop’s Monthly Letter


My dear Fathers,

Let me wish all of you and our beloved faithful and religious a very happy and fruitful New Year – 2017, filled with peace and joy!!!

The year we have begun, is very important for the Church in Sri Lanka, and very specially for our diocese, as it is dedicated as “the Year of St. Joseph Vaz”. I have already explained to you at the November presbyteral meeting, the purpose of declaring a Year of St. Joseph Vaz.It is primarily to be deeply inspired by his heroic sanctity and missionary zeal. The year is important not only for the clergy, who need to give the leadership in our striving to be holy and zealous priests but also to inspire our faithful and religious to come to know our be-loved Apostle of Sri Lanka, in greater depth and truly build up a participatory and evangelizing Church in our diocese. We shall have shortly the pastoral letter of the Catholic Bishops‟ Conference of Sri Lanka, in announc-ing “The Year of St. Joseph Vaz”, and giving the orientation for the whole Church in our country.

I shall also be releasing a pastoral letter before the Feast of St. Joseph Vaz with more practical details for a pas-toral plan for the year in all our parishes and institutions. Please announce to our faithful that the year 2017 will be the year dedicated to St. Joseph Vaz, and therefore, they must come to know the great missionary endeav-ours of this Saint who saved the faith of our forefathers during the severe Dutch persecution. It is important that you gather your parish councils, Catholic associations, movements, as well as all the religious in the parish, to draw up your own parish pastoral programmes with practical details for the whole year. In our diocese, the year will begin on the 16th of January 2017 and it will be concluded on the 16th of January 2018..

With the Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops‟ Conferences held in Negombo, Sri Lanka from 28th November to 04th December 2016, the need to focus on the family in our apostolates, has been greatly em-phasised by the Asian Bishops. The theme of the Assembly was: “The Catholic family in Asia; Domestic Church of the poor on a mission of mercy”. I am very glad that you have already had your vicariate level meet-ings and are in the process of formulating definite pastoral plans to care for the family in all aspects, specially, spiritual, moral, economic and emotional. It is clear that if we really look after the families in our parishes, our apostolic task will be greatly fruitful. In this endeavor, it is heartening to note that your proposals include also the forming of “missionary families” to look after other families in the neighborhood is receiving emphasis. This is an aspect that we shall focus very much in our pastoral programmes for the Year of St. Joseph Vaz.

Our annual gathering of the religious and clergy working in our diocese, helped also very much to focus our attention on the life and ministry of St. Joseph Vaz, and how the clergy and religious have so much to learn from the beautiful example of this missionary par excellence! The talk given by Rev. Fr. Paul Natchetram, OMI., (Former Provincial of the Jaffna Province), on the theme: “Lessons to be learnt from the missionary zeal of St. Joseph Vaz” was very inspiring and provided the clergy and religious with „a good launching pad” for making the Year of St. Joseph Vaz truly fruitful.

We therefore, look forward to a ready and willing as well as enthusiastic collaboration of all the faithful, clergy and religious in our endeavours to become a truly renewed Church “on fire” with the mission entrusted to us by the Lord Jesus, as carried out by St. Joseph Vaz.I wish to place on record my sincere appreciation and gratitude to our Coordinator for Religious, Rev. Fr. Michael Devin Coonghe, IVDei., and his committee, for the excellent arrangement for the Annual Clergy and Religious gathering held at Padiwatte.

I am very happy that we shall be celebrating once again,the Annual feast of St.Joseph Vaz at the Shrine at Am-pitiya with the participation of the Rector, staff and seminarians as well as all the Religious communities in the houses of formation. The feast at the Shrine will be on the 15th of January. On the feast day, namely on the 16th January,I shall celebrate the Festive Mass at 5.00 p.m. at the Cathedral and declare open ,in our own Diocese, “The Year of St. Joseph Vaz”, the Apostle of Sri Lanka.

I wish to thank all those who sent me wishes and offered prayers on the occasion of the Golden jubilee of my priesthood. Please continue to pray for me.

This year, the Holy Childhood Day falls on the 29th January 2017. Please make a special effort to revive the Ho-ly Childhood Cells in our parishes, in view of forming our children into zealous missionaries.

With kind regards and God‟s blessings,

Yours devotedly in the Lord,

Bishop Vianney Fernando

Bishop of Kandy





Bishop’s Engagements in September



01st – Sun -7.00 am – Holy Mass at St. Anthony‟s Cathedral Solemnity of Mother of God

14th – Sat – Celebration of St. Joseph Vaz Feast at Galgamuwa with the laying of

the Foundation Stone for the National Shrine

15th – Sun -8.30 am – Solemn Eucharist on the Feast of St. Joseph at the Shrine, Ampitiya

(Old Seminary Chapel)

16th – Mon -5.00 pm – Feast of St. Joseph Vaz at St. Anthony‟s Cathedral and inaugurating

of the Year of St. Joseph Vaz in our diocese

17th – Tue -9.00 am – Sports meet at Good Shepherd Convent, Kandy

(Chief Guest – The Chief Minister of the Central Province)

22nd – Sun – Feast of St. Sebastian at Cholankande, Nawalapitiya

29th – Sun – Cursillo Convention “ Golden Jubilee” at St. Peter‟s College, Colombo


First Holy Communion at Hewaheta Parish

40 children received First Holy Communion on 13.12.2016 at St. Anne’s Church, Hewaheta. Rev. Fr. Benedict OFM was the chief celebrant. They were trained by the catechists over a period of six months. Rev. Fr. Anton Gavaskar conducted a day’s programme for both parents and children on 12.12.2016! The children stayed overnight in the Church.

Sunday School prize giving was held on 11.12.2016 with Rev. Fr. Shiwantha Rodrigo as the Guest of Honour! 116 children and 19 catechists are there in the parish!

The annual gathering of the catechists took place on 13.12.2016. Fr. Benedict gave an input talk.

Parish Priest


Catechetical Apostolate – Kandy Vicariate

Programme for the Month of January 2017

Ongoing Formation & Representatives Meeting.

Date : 28th January 2017

Time : 10 a.m to 1 p.m



Pope Francis’ letter to dying girl read aloud at her funeral

By Elise Harris

Pope Francis has again captured the hearts of the world, with a tear-jerking letter to a young Italian girl dying from cancer, which was read aloud at the girl‟s funeral once she passed away.

“Dear Paolina, your photos are on my desk, because in your very special gaze I see the light of goodness and innocence. Thank you for sending them to me!” the Pope said at the beginning of his letter.

He instructed the girl to “read this letter together with your mother, and the kiss she will now give you will be the kiss of the Pope.”

Originally published on the Italian website “Il Faro di Roma,” the letter was dated Sept. 22 and addressed to 10-year-old Paolina Libraro, who was suffering from an advanced form of cancer.

The girl‟s mother had written to the Pope asking him to bless and pray for her daughter. In response, Fran-cis sent his letter with a special VIP ticket for this Oct. 26 general audience, where he would have given her the blessing in person.

However, Paolina, who is from the southeast Italian city of Massafra, was too ill and weak to travel as the audience drew near, and so she couldn‟t make the trip to Rome. She passed away Nov. 22 and was buried the same day.

The funeral Mass was held at the Church of St. Leopold Mandic and was presided over by Fr. Michele Quaranta. Nearly the entire town was present, including the city‟s mayor, Fabrizio Quarto.

During his homily, Fr. Quaranta read aloud the Pope‟s letter, which reassured Paolina that “I unite my hands to yours and to those who are praying for you.”

“In this way we will make a long chain that, I am sure, will reach heaven,” Pope Francis said in the letter, and told the girl to remember “that the first link in this chain is you, because you have Jesus in your heart! Remember it!”

He told her to speak to Jesus not only about herself, but also about her parents, “who need so much to be helped and comforted in front of the difficult steps they are facing.”

“You will certainly be very good at suggesting to Jesus what to do for them,” the Pope said, and asked Paolina to also tell Jesus “what he must to for me too, while I will remind him what he must do for you.”

“I give you a very strong hug and I bless you with my whole heart, together with your parents and your loved ones,” he said, and signed the letter himself.

Pope Francis is known to make personal phone calls and send personal messages to those who contact him, often to the surprise of the one who receives his letter or hears his voice on the other end of the line.

The Pope is also known to carry several objects in his pocket that he considers special or important, in-cluding a rosary and pocket-sized Way of the Cross.

Another thing the Pope said he keeps on his desk because it touched his heart is a picture given to him by a child during his daytrip to the Greek island of Lesbos. It depicts several people drowning beside a cap-sized boat as the sun above them cries tears of blood.

Taken From : Catholic News Agency



25 facts about St. Joseph Vaz

(The Patron of Goa, the Apostle of Kanara and Sri Lanka)

by Fr. Romualdo Robin Rodrigues

  1. Joseph Vaz was born on a Friday (21st April 1651*Benaulim-Goa), baptized on a Friday and died on a Friday (16th January 1711*Kandy-Sri Lanka).
  2. The day Joseph Vaz was born, Cristovam Vaz, his father saw a star in the Sky during mid-day and wrote in his personal diary that his son would become a great man.
  3. The Doors of Cortalim Church, the neighbouring church, opened on its own when he went to visit the Blessed Sacrament during the Nights from his paternal home at Sancoale. As a young boy he was called “the little saint” in his Paternal and Maternal Village. He recited the rosary on his way to the Church and the school.
  4. He wrote “the Letter of Captivity “ or “ the Deed of Bondage “to Mother Mary on 5th August 1677.The first letter ever written to Mother Mary by a priest soon after his ordination, whereby, he dedicated his life to the Mother of Jesus.
  5. He resolved to eat kanji (Rice broil) for his food (the food of the poor) throughout his life. He rarely even ate this meagre meal.
  6. After returning from South kanara, having brought peace between the warring factions of the propagan-da and padroado, he started the first indigenous order in Asia, the “Milagristas “or the “Oratorians”. The oratorians served the Church of Sri Lanka and other countries for 150 years.

7.When he got the permission to go to Sri Lanka, his long awaited call, he dressed as a coolie, a real beg-gar; he wore a lungi or a loin cloth around his waist and entered Sri Lanka under disguise as no priest was allowed on this Island for 30 years. He was wheatish brown in colour and that is why he could easily slip into the Island. The Dutch persecuted the Roman Catholic Church for 30 endless years.

  1. He hid the Mass-Kit under his loincloth and wore a rosary round his neck. He later built the first church in Sri Lanka and dedicated it to Mother Mary.
  2. He worked alone in Sri Lanka for 10 years and gave life to the persecuted Church .The next 14 years he was accompanied by the Goan oratorians. He learnt their culture, sang their songs, built their own local Church, he never imposed the western Church on the faithful. Sri Lanka is now divided in 12 dioceses and has Eleven Bishops.
  3. He baptized, catechized and built 300 chapels, churches and especially built homes for the old, sick and the needy next to the Churches.
  4. He always kept a sack of Rice to be distributed after Mass to the poor. And that sack was never empty! He loved the poor. He did all he could for the Poor and the needy that came to him.
  5. Established lay leaders, catechists, the “Muppus “and “Annavis”, small human communities, incul-turation, that too much before the Vatican II. A man who thought ahead of his times.
  6. Disguised as a Baker man, dhobi, coolie, servant, businessman, porter, fisherwoman, etc served the hidden church of Sri Lanka (The Catacombs) for the fear of being caught by the Dutch. He was a proteus, a master of disguise. No one could ever catch him. God protected him. He worked during the nights by the light of the Silvery moon. A Letter addressed to his nephew Deacon says “Be like the moon, face JESUS THE SUN”



  1. Imprisoned in Sri Lanka as a Portuguese spy for 2 years, he was dragged into the City of Kandy bound in chains.
  2. He issued a command over snakes that they would never harm a priest.
  3. While in Prison he learnt their languages, he translated the Catechism books in Tamil and Sinhalese, wrote the Stations of the Cross in the languages of Sri Lanka and taught his companion John all that was required to become a priest. By his exemplary life he won the heart of the Buddhist king and all the reli-gious communities.
  4. When the drought ravaged the Island, he was requested by the Buddhist King to pray for rain. He per-formed the “miracle of Rain” in Kandy; the Buddhists record this Miracle in their Archives. It rained every-where except on Blessed Joseph Vaz and the Altar that he had built to pray for rain! He is highly revered by all religions.
  5. Served selflessly as a Nurse, Cook, Doctor, and Gravedigger to all the communities during the epidemic of small pox, and buried 10-12 bodies per day. The King abandoned his Kingdom and lived in the Jungle for the fear of contracting the disease. He was an epitome of Love. He shone in charity during this dreaded disease.
  6. He never kept any money with him: always depended on God and his fellowmen. He had nothing to owe! Nothing to call this own! He wore only one cassock, which was patched and stitched all over.
  7. He was Called “Samanasu Swami”, the “angelic priest “by the people of Sri Lanka. He stands as the First and Singular missionary of the East to mission to the east.
  8. He educated his neighbour and companion John who accompanied him in Sri Lanka and requested the Superior of the Oratorians to ordain him a priest. John, who later returned to Goa, was ordained a priest! (The first Dalit-priest)
  9. He always slept on a mat on the floor. He never sought glory. He was humble to the core.
  10. God blessed him with 30 years of priesthood, 24 fruitful years in the Sri Lankan Vineyard. He walked bare foot throughout his life (59 years 6 months, 26 days) or rather 60 years. He was wiry-thin and walked through the jungles, etc like the wind.
  11. He died in an odour of Sanctity on 16th January 1711, on the day and the time that he had foretold! Be-fore dying he spoke and advised those gathered around him in Sinhala “Hardly you will be able to do at the time of death what you have not done during your lifeThe Buddhist King requested that the body lay in state for three days. Thousands poured in the Church to pay their last respects to the great Missionary that Goa gave to the Universal Church. Nobody knows now where his body lay buried. Perhaps he does not want to be recognized! Such is his humility.
  12. He sent the Crucifix given to him by the Pope to Goa, now preserved in the Oratory Room of Blessed Joseph Vaz at Sancoale, Goa, India. The only relic in India. The Oratory Room (over 400 yrs old) is being visited by thousands of devotees from all over the world. The jackfruit tree that he played under, climbed down from the window, to visit the Blessed Sacrament in Cortalim Church quietly during the nights still stands witness to the Holy Son of Goa.



Human Rights Salutation – 2016

Human Rights Salutation 2016, was held at the Good Shepherd Convent Kandy on the 11th of December 2016 with Rev. Fr. Oswald Firth OMI as the Chief guest and Ruki Fernando delivering the key note ad-dress.

Fr. Nandana Manatunga introducing the event explained the need to appreciate the courage of survivors as well as Human Rights defenders and therefore the HRO make use of the Human Rights day to encourage school children, victims and activists to continue the mission of defending, protecting and promoting the rights of all the citizens.

Human Rights activists and defender Marisa De Silva, Rohitha Liyanage and Ramesh Kumar were award-ed for their courage as Torture victims for voicing against Torture and inhuman degrading treatment and punishment.

Around 500 people including Human Rights activists, defenders, winners of the schools / Religious schools Essay and Art competitions, families of the disappeared, families of the prisoners and the members of the support group participating in it.

Rev. Fr Oswald Firth OMI shared his experiences during his address and said that defending the Rights of the victimized cannot be postponed as you may be the next victim and invited everyone to join in protect-ing and promoting the Rights of the defenseless, the marginalized and the poor.

Ruki Fernando presented an over view of the Human Rights situation in the country and paused several questions to the audience.

The former Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala presented an award to Rev. Fr. Oswald Firth for his untiring work in the field of Human Rights and development to the Celebrant province and to the whole country.

The award ceremony was made colourful with dances and Christmas carols. The parents of the disap-peared, families of the prisoners, Torture and rape survivors, legal and medical personal were also encour-aged and appreciated for their commitment and courage in seeking Justice at a time when Justice delivery system is gradually failing.

Winners of School & Religious Schools Art and Essay competitions

Held in view of the Human Rights Day 2016

Organized by the Human Rights Office Kandy

(Winners of our Diocese)

Essay – Sinhala Medium

Under 12

03rd Place : P.G. Madushika Poornima Priyadharshani of St. Anne‟s Sunday School – Hewaheta

Under 16

02nd Place : Stephani Bhagya Silva of st. Anthony‟s Sunday School – Wattegama

03rd Place : M.K. Tharindu Ravishan Jayasinghe of St. Mary‟s Sunday School – Nikawehera

Under 20

01st Place : T.G. Chathurangi Kaushalya Wijerathne of St. Mary‟s Sunday School – Nikawehera

Essay – Tamil Medium

Under 12

01st Place : John Benadict Lucia Lorancia of St. Mary‟s Sunday School – Tawalantenna

02nd Place : J.H. Hinoshan of St. Thomas‟ Sunday school – Matale

03rd Place : Mezanat Astan of St. Mary‟s Sunday school – Nawalapitiya

Under 16

01st Place : A.Shirome Shalika of St.Mary‟s Sunday School – Nawalapitiya

03rd Place : B.Keerthika Of St. Anthony‟s Sunday School – Kandy


Under 20

01st Place : J.Mary Noyelin of Holy Rosary Sunday School – Madulkelle

02nd Place : D.M.C. Shiruni Pieris of St. Mary‟s Sunday School – Ampitiya

03rd Place : Binesh Chamilka De Silva of Fathima Sunday School – Padiwatte

Sent by : Rev. Fr. Nandana Manathunga



Pope Francis cited three reasons why St. Joseph Vaz sets an example, even today:

  1. Exemplary priest: “He teaches us how to go out to the peripheries, to make Jesus Christ every-where known and loved.”
  2. Transcending religious divisions: “His example continues to inspire the Church in Sri Lanka today. (The Church) gladly and generously serves all members of society. She makes no distinc-tion of race, creed, tribe, status or religion.”
  3. Missionary zeal: “I pray that, following the example of Saint Joseph Vaz, the Christians of this country may be confirmed in faith and make an ever greater contribution to peace, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society.”

From the Homily given by His Holiness Pope Francis on the Canonization of St. Joseph Vaz on the 14th January 2015 at Galle Face, Colombo.


Finders, Keepers…or Givers

This is a story but has a strong message that shows how much greater it is to bless someone else even if we have to give up something that we hold dear to our heart.

Lk 6; 38 Jesus says “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken to-gether, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you give, it will be measured back to you.”

A wise woman who was travelling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and wise woman opened her bag to share the food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give to him. She did so with-out hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a life time. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to wise woman. “I‟ve been thinking, “he said, I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious: Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Let us be givers just as God is a giver. He loves us so much that He gave his only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. If God did that for us then the least we could do is love others and share his love by caring and doing for others as He has done for us.


Friends are like the walls of a house.

Sometimes they hold you up,

Sometimes you lean on them.

But sometimes, it‟s enough to know they‟re just standing by.

In all my friends were to jump off a bridge,

I wouldn‟t jump with them;

I‟d be at the bottom to catch them.

One tree can start a forest;

One smile can start a friendship.

One touch can show you care;

One friend can make life worth living for.

A smile makes us look younger….

While friends make us feel stronger…

And they make us enjoy life.

The man who walks with God always gets to hid destination.

In case you are looking for gadgets and machines to make your life comfortable, remember these words of Elbert Hubbard,” One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary people, but no machine can do the work of on extraordinary person.”

Be that extraordinary person – by being the best version you can be of yourself. Your life will then be of a masterpiece.

Sent by Fr. Bala Rajendram



Saint Joseph Vaz’s Mission in Sri Lanka


Hearing of the distressful situation of the Catholics of Ceylon who reportedly had no priests for many years, Vaz desired to go to their rescue. But instead he was named Superior of the Canara Mission, a post which he occupied for three years. In 1686, Vaz obtained permission to give up this office and to proceed to Ceylon He stopped in the Keladi Kingdom in 1686–1687 for a few months on his way to Ceylon, where helped by his companions, he attended to the spiritual needs of the local Christians. Disguised as a mendi-cant, he reached the port of Tuticorin on Easter Sunday 1687.

Jaffna mission

On landing at Jaffna, Vaz found a strong Calvinist presence. As Catholic priests were banned by the Dutch authorities, he had to travel under the guise of a mendicant and to work in secret.[10] He travelled barefoot as an Indian sanyasi.

Vaz suffered from acute dysentery, contracted from the terrible travelling conditions. Upon recovering, he began contacting Catholics and hiding from the Dutch. He was taken in and ministered to his secret flock by night. In 1689, taking up his residence in a village called Sillalai where the Catholics were numerous and resolute, Vaz succeeded in reviving the spirit of the faithful. In 1690, he was forced to change his quarters for Puttalam, where he worked with great success for a whole year.[10] Portuguese or Portuguese creole was the common language of the local Catholic communities those days -as it was the case till re-cently among Burghers- so communication was not a problem for padre José Vaz.

Kandy mission

In 1692, Vaz settled in Kandy, the capital of the independent Kingdom of Kandy, as his centre of opera-tions. On his arrival, he was deemed to be a Portuguese spy and was imprisoned with two other Catholics. There he learned Sinhala, the local language. 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 organising the basic mission structure 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 centres of the island. Between 1687 and 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.

Vaz returned to Kandy in 1699 with a fellow priest, Joseph de Carvalho, who had been expelled at the in-stigation 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, Vaz intensified his ministry, and converted some Sinhalese notables. 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 com-parable to that of the Buddhists, and to affirm the rights of Catholics with those of the Dutch Calvinist Government. He was assisted by father Jacome Gonsalves. 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.[12]



Batticaloa mission

Joseph Vaz visited Batticaloa in 1710 in order to revive the Catholic faith during the time of Dutch perse-cution against Catholics. He visited a church in Thandavenveli, now known as Church of Our Lady of Presentation, where he was tied to a tree and beaten. Again, he made a second visit to Batticaloa for reviv-ing the Catholic faith and returned to Kandy.


King Vimaldharna 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.

Vaz’s work was carried forward by Jacome Gonsalves.


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 Ceylon. The title of “Servant of God” is given to a deceased person whose life and works are being investigated by the Catho-lic Church in consideration for official recognition as a saint. The process was begun in Goa, and a num-ber 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 re-ports of this saintly priest. He did his own research about him, was a great admirer of Joseph Vaz and pub-lished 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, Sri Lanka.


In October 2013, a Diocesan Inquiry of a miracle attributed to Vaz took place.[15] In November 2013, Pa-triarch Filipe Neri Ferrao stated that the cause for Vaz’s canonisation had reached a ‘crucial stage’.[16] The Pope approved the vote by the Ordinary Session of Cardinals and Bishops in favor of canonization of the Indian-born priest and decided to summon a Consistory shortly after.[17][18][19]

Pope Francis waived the requirement for a second miracle, generally a requirement for canonization. The Pope used the same process he used to canonize Pope St John XXIII without a second miracle attributed to his intercession.

Joseph Vaz was canonized by Pope Francis on 14 January 2015 in Colombo at Galleface, Sri Lanka. Saint Joseph Vaz is the first saint to have been canonised in Sri Lanka, the first saint of Sri Lanka (having died there) and first originally from the area of Goa, India.[17][21]

The canonization of Joseph Vaz was celebrated at the St Joseph Vaz Shrine, Mudipu, Mangalore, during 14–16 January 2015, as he was the first priest from the Konkan Coast to be canonized and he is the first Saint that Asia has ever produced.

Taken From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Vaz



Pope Francis: When priests are rigid they are separated from the people

In his homily in Santa Marta, the pope spoke about the rigidity of some priests. He is sure that when they “fall” into this rut, they forget their true purpose, which is to help those in need.


“Rigidity. [They face] the people of God with a switch in their hand: ‘This cannot be, this cannot be …’. And so many people come approaching, looking for a bit of consolation, a little understanding, and are chased away by this rigidity.”

He concluded by saying that “when the priest’s work becomes a mere habit, it ends with ridiculousness, always.”


“The mediator gives himself to unite the parties, he gives his life. That is the price: his life – he pays with his life, his fatigue, his work, so many things, but – in this case, the pastor – to unite the flock, to unite people, to bring them to Jesus. The logic of Jesus as mediator is the logic of annihilating oneself.

St. Paul in his Letter to the Philippians is clear on this: ‘He annihilated Himself, emptied Himself, and to achieve this union, [He did so] even unto death, death on a cross. That is the logic: to empty oneself, to annihilate oneself.”

“But to make themselves important, intermediary priests must take the path of rigidity: often disconnected from people, they do not know what human suffering is; they forget what they had learned at home, with dad’s work, with mom’s, grandfather’s, grandmother’s, his brothers’ …They lose these things.

They are rigid, [they are] those rigid ones that load upon the faithful so many things that they do not car-ry, as Jesus said to the intermediaries of his time: rigidity. [They face] the people of God with a switch in their hand: ‘This cannot be, this cannot be …’. And so many people approaching, looking for a bit of con-solation, a little understanding, are chased away with this rigidity.”

“About rigidity and worldliness, it was some time ago that an elderly monsignor of the curia came to me, who works, a normal man, a good man, in love with Jesus – and he told me that he had gone to buy a cou-ple of shirts at Euroclero [the clerical clothing store] and saw a young fellow – he thinks he had not more than 25 years, or a young priest or about to become a priest – before the mirror, with a cape, large, wide, velvet, with a silver chain. He then took the Saturno [wide-brimmed clerical headgear], he put it on and looked himself over. A rigid and worldly one. And that priest – he is wise, that monsignor, very wise – was able to overcome the pain, with a line of healthy humor and added: ‘And it is said that the Church does not allow women priests!’. Thus, when the priest’s work becomes a mere habit, it ends with ridiculous-ness, always.”

“In the examination of conscience, consider this: today was I a functionary or a mediator? Did I look af-termyself, did I look to my own comfort, my own comfort, or did I spend the day at the service of others? ”




Once, a person told me how he knew what kind of priest a man was by the attitude they had with children: if they knew how to care for a child, to smile at a child, to play with a child … It is interesting, because this means lowering oneself, getting close to the little things. Rather, the go-between is sad, always with that sad face or the too-serious, dark face. The intermediary has the dark eyes, very dark! The mediator is open: the smile, the warmth, the understanding, the caresses.”

This is how a mediator makes his end: as a piece of bread for his faithful. Another icon is St. Francis Xa-vier, who died young on the beach of Shangchuan, looking toward China where he wanted to go but could not because the Lord took him to Himself. And then, the last icon: the elderly St. Paul at the Three Foun-tains. Early that morning, the soldiers went to him, they got him, and he walked bent over.He knew that was because of the treachery of some in the Christian community but he had struggled so much, so much in his life, that he offered himself to the Lord as a sacrifice.”

(Source: Vatican Radio)


A Sum-mary of the Annual gathering of Priests and Religious

in the diocese of Kandy

It was a joyful day once again, for all priests and religious serving in the diocese of Kandy, who gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Padiwatte on 5th, December 2016 at 9.00 a.m. There were more than hundred and fifty members gathered. The Holy Eucharist was presided by our bishop, His Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando, along with fifty priests concelebrating. In his homily, our bishop stressed on the missionary mandate of with which the disciples were entrusted with. Thanking the Lord for the won-derful opportunity of the Year of Mercy, the participants prayed for our bishop, who is to complete his fif-ty years of priesthood on 21st, December 2016.

At the end of the Holy Mass, a souvenir was given to our bishop marking his Golden Jubilee. A input talk on the theme of “Lessons to be learnt from the missionary zeal of St. Joesph Vaz : From Religious point of View”, was addressed by Rev. Fr. Paul Natchathiram OMI, followed by group discussions on ten various questions related to the presented topic. All priests and religious actively took part and made their own contribution in bringing the practical dimension of reflection.

After the lunch, the fellowship time began with our chief shepherd‟s presence. Various events of fellow-ship time was organised by the sisters of Apostolic Carmalites and Franciscans of Missionaries of Mary. The whole programme was ended with the thanking note from our bishop by 3.30 p.m. The questions and the group sharing are attached along with the summery.

Fr. Dewin Coonge IVD



02nd – Mon – Rev. Fr. Gabriel Gunasekaran

06th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Locksley Peiris

13th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Prasanna Warnakulasuriya

16th – Mon – Rev. Fr. Anton Gavaskaer

– Rev. Bro. Lionel Perera, OSB

17th – Tue – Rev. Fr. Lalith Thushara Amerasinghe

20th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Nilanka Dias

21st – Sat – Rev. Fr. Timothy Gnanapragasam

25th – Wed – Rev. Fr. B. L. D. Paul

26th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Ignatius Samarakoon


11th – Wed – Rev. Fr. D. Soosainathan, OSB

15th – Sun – Rev. Fr. Niroshana de Zoysa

– Rev. Fr. Gabriel Gunasekaran

19th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Roy Clarence

– Rev. Fr. Nilanka Dias

– Rev. Fr. Christy Paul

20th – Fri – Rev. Fr. John Winston

26th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Valentine Ekanayake, OSB


07th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Anselm Weerasinghe, OSB

08th – Sun – Rev. Fr. T. D. Manuel

11th – Wed – Rev. Fr. Marius Fernandez, OSB

19th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Joseph Rodrigo

20th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Gregory Pheobus, OSB

22nd – Sun – Rev. Fr. F. M. Gunatillake