05/03/2010, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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May 1st celebrated by all faiths and ethnicities together, in church

by Melani Manel Perera
A joint celebration of workers of all ethnicities and faiths, to reaffirm the centrality of work in the life of the individual and society. Because "without the work of the people, a country has no future."

Colombo (AsiaNews) - An interfaith procession and a function of all workers and their families to celebrate the Feast of May 1. The Christian Workers Fellowship, which organized the event, spoke to AsiaNews about the desire to "not divide Sinhala, Tamil, Muslims workers... They are all equal in the Body of Christ and the love of Christ."

In the morning there was a symbolic procession of workers with their tools in the city of Kollupiti, which lasted about 45 minutes. Then about 500 workers and their families, representing all districts of the island and of all ethnicities and religions, participated in an Anglican Mass , chaired by Pastor Yohan Devananda, along with 15 other pastors. Muslim and Buddhist clerics and religious were also present. The event was also attended by Minister Tissa Vitharana and Islamic Minister Mavulana Alavi.

During the mass, marked by singing, the faithful of different religions have exchanged mutual good wishes and messages and a common call to repent for mistakes and sins and ask God's blessings

The Venerable Galagama Dhammaransi Thero, State Council for Religious Affairs, spoke to AsiaNews of the desire to “always be an example for our children and youth. Only then they will follow us. There must be unity among religions. The labour problems are the same for every religion. I am happy to participate in this moment of prayer. "

Father Marimuttu Sathivel of St. Michael’s Church, observed how a common commitment to workers' rights should not be limited to May 1, the "day where even the politicians speak to the workers of their rights. Then everyone returns to their business and everything is as it was before. " He says that to really solve these problems, we must "recognize an authentic leader who truly represents them." And all society needs to become aware of and involved in the workers situation. Christians see in Jesus Christ the true "leader" of workers, because he went among the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked and the homeless.

Several participants of different social conditions and beliefs, speaking to AsiaNews, emphasize how essential the correct view of the importance of work for the individual and society is. Deacons Ganagaprasath, Jeyakumara and Devasena, from Jaffna and Kilinochchi repeat that, "without the work of the people, a country has no future. Today we are here to express solidarity with all workers. And to pray for them. "

Across the country, the Church recalled and celebrated workers. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith blessed fishermen’s nets and their boats, in an afternoon ceremony in the village of Negombo.

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