03/30/2011, 00.00
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Gampaha: Christians village officials, a life spent for others

by Melani Manel Perera
The "Grama Niladhari" act as mediators between the government and the community. For the first time the Christian Workers Movement of the Diocese of Columbo meets them, together with their families.

Kalaeliya (AsiaNews) – The "Grama Niladhari" - literally  "village leaders" - are the mediators between the government and communities, implementing the mandate and decisions promulgated by the executive. The regular annual census, for example, is entrusted to them. On 27 March, the christian officials, along with their families, met for the first time with representatives of the Christian Workers Movement (CWM), of the Diocese of Colombo. Under the guidance of Fr Reid Shelton Fernando, spiritual director of the Cwm, thirty men, women and children met at the church of S. Joachim, in the village of Kalaeliya (Gampaha district), for spiritual support to the work of the "Grama Niladari.

Fr. Fernando recalls in particular one of the officials of the village, which during the January floods dedicated himself to helping the inhabitants of his village, neglecting his own family. "Even his house - he says - was flooded by the rains and there was no food for his family. Yet, he visited the residents, dealt with the basic needs and has provided them with food rations. He thought of them before himself, as do those who follow the teachings of Jesus. "

The priest stresses that nobody pays much attention to these officials and the service they render to society. "For example, no one – he adds - could get any government job without a letter of recommendation from the " Grama Niladhari ".

In the district of Gampaha 256 christian village officials operate, divided into 13 divisional secretariats. Paul Jayawardhana, chairman of Cwm, announced their intention to organize a group of Christian village officials for each other districts of the Diocese of Colombo.

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