Sunday, August 16, 2009

Devotees gather in large numbers at Madhu

A large number of Catholic devotees turned up yesterday (Aug 16) at the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu for the festive High Mass which was held in a free environment for the first time. Devotees in their public and private vehicles had a hassle-free journey sans security checks to participate in the feasts, and enjoyed their religious freedom having stayed overnight at the church premises which was cleared of mines by the Security Forces ensuring their safety.

Some officials said that the turn up of devotees exceeded their expectations.

The Madhu shrine premises was filled to its full capacity as the final day mass began yesterday morning. Devotees irrespective of ethnic differences gathered there, displaying a rare gathering of unity in a free environment.

Rt. Rev. Malcom Ranjith Fernando,the new Archbishop said that the Madhu feast is celebrated in a peaceful country for the first time.

"We should rise above our narrow differences to march towards a society where morals and values reign, he said.

He said people should be committed to create a society where they react to situations not by their emotions but by their brains. He said he prayed that all the displaced civilians now living in camps will be soon resettled and allowed to participate at the feast to make it a real feast in a peaceful country.

Above all these facilities what we admire is the free access made available by the Government, Edvin Calistas who used to visit this shrine annually for decades, said.

Former Archbishop Oswald Gomis, Jaffna Bishop Thomas Saundranayagam and Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph also participated in the mass.

Ministers Milroy Fernando, Sarath Kumara Gunaratne and Northern Province Governor Major Gen. (Retd) G.A Chandrasiri also participated at the Mass.

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