09/06/2010, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Mgr Ranjith inaugurates the Special Year of the Holy Eucharist

by Melani Manel Perera
The start of the special year takes place at Our Lady of Lanka shrine in Tewatta. Focus is on the liturgy. Initiatives include mediation and action.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – “I urge all clergy to kneel down and respect the Eucharist and guide parishioners on that path. The Holy Eucharist is God, not simply a slice of bread,” Mgr Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, said as he celebrated the start of the Special Year of the Holy Eucharist in Our Lady of Lanka Basilica in Tewatta.

The theme of the year is “Let the Eucharist transform you to be a blessing”. For this occasion, a three-day meeting was held to discuss the liturgy. The diocese’s clergy and representatives of religious organisations took part in the event.

Card Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, attended the ceremony. On the first day of the conference, 1 September, he gave an inaugural address on the “Liturgy, the most effective way of experiencing the overpowering presence of God in human life.”

Fr Reid Shelton Fernando, secretary of the Archdiocesan Commission for Strategic Planning and Evaluation (ACSPE), spoke to AsiaNews about the Eucharistic Year and the three-day conference, citing the Latin principle of Lex orandi lex credenda (the law of Prayer is the law of belief”.

“We pray what we believe in. How we worship is based on our faith. The Liturgy is central to Christian Life,” he said. “To do away carelessly with the practice of liturgy can destroy or harm Christian life. The liturgy is a divine act, and it often happens that we interpret it the way we want to, limiting it to human experience, which is far from the true liturgy.”

Fr Cecil Joy Perera, archdiocesan coordinator for liturgy, spoke on Thursday about the “Theological Concepts of Liturgical Life and Realisation in actual celebration”.

On the last day of the event, Friday, Mgr Ranjith addressed the issue of the “Liturgy of the Hours and Priestly Spirituality”.

During the meeting, certain guidelines emerged that should provide a focus for the Eucharistic Year. They include: how to organise meetings and meditations on the meaning of and devotion to the Holy Eucharist, how to celebrate Mass in a solemn yet sober way, and how to pay special attention and provide input to charity activities, especially those designed to bridge the gap between northern and southern Sri Lanka.

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