Sunday, March 9, 2014

From Delegate House to New Presence in North SriLanka

 The delegate has accepted the invitation of the Bishop of Mannar. It was a long standing invitation to establish the presence of the Capuchins in North Sri Lanka, the centre of war and LTTE. The war is over and now there is normalcy in the entire north. The parish which is given to Capuchin is at Tahranikulam in the diocese of Mannar. The bishop has given a parish with 8 substations. The catholics are all Tamilians. Most of the Catholics are daily wagers. They are all very strong catholics and practice the faith with vigour and enthusiasm. 
Br. William, Br. jeevan and one parishioner accompanied me to this place. It was six hours drive to get to the North side of Sri Lanka. On the way we halted to visit the newly bought property by the delegation. This is a coconut garden with 14 acres of Land. It would become a source of income for the delegate in the future. 
In north there are about two big Marian sanctuaries. SO on saturday and sunday all the Catholics from south and North visit these sanctuaries. There is a custom among the Buddhist that is when their faithful undertake a pilgrimage, on the way they are served food by volunteers or some rich people. The Catholics have adopted the same custom and they feed all the Marian devotees with breakfast or Lunch. We too profited of the same on the way.
This morning the Bishop of Mannar came for his pastoral visit of the parish. We all concelebrated the Eucharist with him. He expressed hope that the capuchins will develop the parish and help the faithful to grow in their faith. He remarked that within a month the friars have done a lot of work. The youth are now very active and the church participation has increased. 
These poor people have lot of needs. The friars are organizing evening tuitions and some social work too. 
There are lot of vocations in North and Capuchins are hoping to receive some. Already they have three vocations from North and they are professed.
The Sri Lankan professed friars in total are 9 and two novices. So there is hope in this part of world for Capuchin life and charism to spread and grow.
They have a lot of needs in the delegation and we hope and pray that some generous donors and provinces would come forward to help them.

 The Novices, 2 from Sri Lanka and 3 Pakistanis

The coconut estate. Br. William and Br. Jeevan

The View of the Garden

 The old House that was purchased along with the property
 The feeding of the pilgrim centre on the way. With a Budhist monk
The parish priest who organized free food for pilgrims
 Betel leaves which are eaten here by the people. The new property purchased in North SriLanka
 Mr. Noel who is a cook in Olten Swiss. We visited him in Madu.

 The Bishop of Mannar

 The Parishioners waiting to welcome the Bishop

 The traditional welcome to all of us

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