01/05/2009, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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People come for Mary’s blessing on their children and job, says Colombo archbishop

by Melani Manel Perera
A traditional ceremony takes place at the start of the year at the Tewatta’s national shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lanka. People of all ages, Catholics and Buddhists alike, come to have their job and the tools they use to earn a living blessed.
Tewatta (AsiaNews) – “Today, in this fast changing world with challenges and difficulties, are you looking for your children’s spiritual, educational or economical prosperity? Saving for your children is good, but the goals you give your children must be to strive to be good persons growing in wisdom and stature. To be successful in life our aims must be clear. What are your aims for your children?” Mgr Oswald Gomis (pictured) said during last Friday’s solemn Eucharist on the Feast Day of the Blessing of Our Lady of Lanka at Tewatta Basilica, which is located some 20 kilometres north of Colombo.

Every year thousands of Catholics as well as non-Catholics come to Sri Lanka’s national shrine for a special blessing, for their job, machinery, vehicles and tools they use to make a living. 

Together this year, Wennappuwa Parish (Puttalam district) and the permanent organising committee celebrated 25 years of service to Tewatta Basilica.

The solemn Mass was celebrated by the capital’s archbishop as well as, among the many, Fr Gamini Fernando, Episcopal vicar for the northern region of the archdiocese; Fr Merl Shanthi, the administrator of the Basilica; and Fr Camillus Fernando, who runs the Ragama deanery.

AsiaNews met some of the worshippers who attended the service.

Sujith Fernando, a young father of two from Our Lady of Presentation Parish in Marawila, was one of them. He has been attending the ceremony on 2 January for the past ten years.

“We don’t start work in the new year without getting Our Lady’s special blessing. Also this is the seventh year I get my work instruments blessed,” he said.

Likewise Piyasena Gunawardana, a 56-year-old Buddhist businessman from Colombo, spoke to AsiaNews.

“To be honest, I must say that this is a powerful blessing for the whole year. Even though I am not Catholic, I have been coming here for the blessing for the past 15 years,” he said.

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