05/15/2024, 12.29
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Bishop Peiris, theologian and promoter of social sciences, has died

by Melani Manel Perera

After leading the National Seminary he had been auxiliary of Colombo and secretary of the Episcopal Conference. He is credited with founding the magazine Living Faith for the country's clergy and religious. Sr. Deepa Fernando: "He encouraged us sisters to deepen our studies in economics and political science.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is mourning the death of Mgr Vincent Marius Joseph Peiris, former auxiliary bishop of Colombo, known for his simplicity and for his central role in the formation of priests and the development of the laity, who died at the age of 83.

Born on 11 October 1941 and ordained a priest in 1972, he had long exercised his ministry at the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka in Kandy, of which he was appointed rector in 1998. Appointed by Pope John Paul II as auxiliary bishop of Colombo in 2001, he was also secretary of the Bishops' Conference. He had retired in 2018.

He is credited with the opening of a new philosophy centre in the seminary and the creation of the six-monthly theological periodical, 'Living Faith', for the country's clergy and religious.
"Bishop Marius tried to give an academic light to the Christian vision," Shelton Hettiarchchi tells AsiaNews, "even though many Catholics did not even know his name. In addition to his understanding of the Sinhala language and literature, he had the conviction that we should and could recover from the wars that destroyed our country'.

A prolific scholar of social issues, Peiris had also studied at the London School of Economics, earning a master's degree and a doctorate in political sociology.

Sister Deepa Fernando, co-convener of the Movement of Christian Women's Voice, also remembers him to AsiaNews as an extraordinary person: 'He was an exceptional teacher with the ability to communicate with passion and creativity about his subjects, particularly economics and political science. He inspired me to go deeper into political science, a subject that was unfamiliar to us nuns at the time. He was a brilliant scholar and at the same time a compassionate priest, very human".

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