04/11/2014, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Christ's Passion changed my life, young Buddhist says

by Melani Manel Perera
Chandrarathna, 30, will begin his catechumenate after Easter. His decision to convert came after seeing a performance of the Calvary of Christ. "The life of Jesus was revolutionary," he told AsiaNews.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - "Seeing the life of Jesus on stage changed my life," Chandrarathna told AsiaNews. For the 30-year-old Buddhist, watching the Passion of Christ has led him to Christianity, a radical choice that will allow him to improve himself and "finally lead a life at peace."

Born in the village of Beliaththa, in the extreme south of the country, the young man has been living in the Wennappuwa in the north since he was 22. Here, he works in real estate, and most of the people he knows are Catholic.

However, "I did not led a good life. I drank and smoked a lot, and I had many girlfriends, just for fun." Then in March of last year, he saw a representation of the Passion of Christ in the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, in Ninamadama.

"I went to see it with some friends," Chandrarathna explained, "and I noticed that it was very lively. It was something different from what I had seen in the past. It was full of meaning and the orchestra sounded so wonderful."

"The next day I went back to see the play again," he added, "and my enthusiasm grew as I learnt about the real life of Jesus. I understood that the life of Christ was revolutionary, and I thought: 'Why can't I be faithful to Jesus as well?'"

After that, he began reading Catholic newspapers, the Bible and the Gospel.

"I started going to church and I made ​​a pilgrimage to the shrine of Madhu. When I have free time I go to church; I sit and look at Jesus on the cross. I ask him to forgive me for all my bad habits."

Sometimes during the past year, the young man met a priest, to whom he confided his intention of becoming a Christian.

"After this Easter," he said, "I will start my catechumenate journey. Now I am happy because I know that one day I am going to be a good Christian. My life will be blessed and I will make my elderly parents happy."

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