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John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

Bishop's Letter

BISHOP’S MONTHLY LETTER –November 2016

My dear Rev. Fathers, Sisters and Brothers

  • The month of November reminds us of the faithful departed. Basing on the Christian tradition we pray for the dead and remember them with love and respect (cf. 2 Mac. 12:46). Masses are held usually in the cemeteries on the all soul’s day. Let us make use of this month for a meaningful Catechesis specially to be reminded of the transitory nature of human life. God will raise the mortal bodies as He promised, on the last day. Moreover, we must be reminded that we are a pilgrim people on earth and our hearts should be set beyond this world towards a life in God which is everlasting.
  • I wish to remind you that the collection of the All Souls’ day will be directed as usual to the Diocesan Medical Fund. You should attend to this carefully and handover your parish contributions to the Procurator General without much delay.
  • We will be entering into the session of Advent at the end of this month. It is a time of preparation to welcome the Lord into our hearts as well as to be ready for His 2nd coming. I would like you to give special attention during Advent to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. First and foremost the Priests should speak about the importance of confession. Then, the faithful should be encouraged to make their confession. A meaningful adult catechesis in the parishes will certainly be a
    significant way of preparing the people to welcome the “Messiah”. Our task is twofold, namely, to prepare ourselves and prepare our communities.
  • The ‘Hapasanka’ festival was held with the participation of many young people in the diocese. The new Hapasanka Committee has taken a lot of trouble in organizing various activities and competitions during the year which culminates in the annual the festival of awards. My thanks to Fr. Frank Tissera, the diocesan Director for Communications for the efforts taken to re-organize ‘Hapasanka’ which is the cultural arm in the diocese.
  • The Annual Retreat II will be held this month at St. Anne’s Shrine, Talawila. The programme has been sent to those Rev. Fathers taking part. The preacher will be Rev. Fr. Clifford Souza from India. Your prayers are kindly requested for the success of the retreat.
  • A meeting of the Diocesan Directors was held on the 26 . The work of the Directors during the Year of Mercy was evaluated and a plan of work for the next year was discussed keeping in mind the ‘Year of St. Joseph Vaz’.
  • I wish to congratulate Fr. Bennet Shantha on his appointment as the Principal of St. Mary’s College, Chilaw. The expectation of everyone is that Fr. Shantha will raise the college to its Original Glory. It is for the first time in the history of the College that a priest has taken up the responsibility as Principal.
  • In consultation with the priests of the Deanery, I have appointed Rev. Fr. Eric Fernando as the Dean of Wennappuwa Deanery.
  • As the Year of Mercy is ending I recall with gratitude the Rev. Fathers and Religious who conducted special programmes on the theme of Mercy in parishes, schools and other institutions. If you had not taken the trouble to bring the message of the Year of Mercy to the ground level the entire exercise would have been futile. Therefore I really appreciate the priests and religious who took this call of the Holy Father to their hearts and tried sincerely to take the message to the faithful. It was consoling to see some parishes even took the parishioners on Pilgrimage to Talawila and Madhu to give them a real experience
    of the Year of Mercy. My sincere thanks to all of them.
  • The renovated Salvatorian Convent at Wijeyakatupotha was blessed last month. My thanks to the Procurator General for attending to this much needed task to assist the Salvatorian Sisters who have been there for nearly 50 years.
  • The Year of St. Joseph Vaz will be launched in the coming Liturgical Year. A special pastoral letter issued by the CBCSL will be sent to the parishes for distribution among the faithful. I intend to invite the presbyterium and the Religious to share this pastoral letter in order to make this year of St. Joseph Vaz a fruitful one.
  • The 25 Anniversary of St. Michael’s Church Manuwangama in Deduru Oya parish was held last month. My thanks to Fr. Alex Weerasuriya for organizing the event meaningfully together with the parishioners.
  • The Rosary Rally was held last month with the participation of the Legionaries of the diocese. Fr. Anura Gamlath together with the parishioners of Dummalakotuwa had taken a lot of trouble to make this event a memorable one. The large gathering of nearly 4000 people were provided with lunch. I do appreciate this initiative which was organized in honour of Our Blessed Mother.
  • The XI Plenary Assembly of the FABC will be held in Sri Lanka from 28 November to 05 December. Nearly 140 delegates including 100 Bishops and 10 Cardinals are expected to attend this event which is going to be held in Sri Lanka for the first time. The focus of this important assembly will be the pastoral care of the family. Let us all pray for the success of this Asian Assembly.

Asking the Lord to Bless you.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
+D. Valence Mendis,
Bishop of Chilaw

 

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