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Many Thousand Receive Blessing of St. Anthony during Prayers at Kachchathivu
[2012-03-05 12:00:09]

Kachchathivu, an uninhabited sandy isle located many kilometers away from Sri Lankan mainland in the Indian Ocean was congested with catholic devotees on Sunday (04) when St. Anthony’s Church there held the annual Mass.

Approximately six thousand South Indian Catholics including over 100 clergies and nearly 4000 local Catholics and about 50 priests from different parts of Sri Lanka attended the morning prayers conducted by Vicar General Jaffna Rev. Fr. Justin Gnanapragasm, Rev. Fr. Michel Raj of Sagayamada Church in Sivasangai, Diocese from the South India.

Majority had arrived the previous day and spent the night in Kachchathivu to attend the morning mass to get blessing of St. Anthony, to whom the church is dedicated. With the direction of Ministry of Defence, the Sri Lanka Navy had made all necessary arrangements assisted by Government Agent Jaffna to cater to basic needs of local and Indian devotees arriving in the isle to attend the mass which symbolizes the long-lasting comradeship between local and Indian fishing communities. Sri Lanka Navy and Police provided security to people throughout during their stay in the island. In addition, medical centres and drinking water tanks had been installed by the Sri Lanka Navy. Meals, shelter and sanitary conveniences are among the facilities organized by the Sri Lanka Navy.

Administration power of Kachchathivu island which lies over about 1.5 square kilometers at a distance of 45 nautical miles away from Kankesanthurai was vested in the Sri Lankan government in 1974 by the Indian government under provisions of Sirima-Shasthri pact. Since then this beautiful sandy island covered with tropical shrubs has been serving as a resting and meeting place for both local and Indian fishermen.

The Parish Priest of Delft island took initiative in coordinating all arrangement with relevant agencies.

Chief Incumbent of Nagadeepa Buddhist temple Ven. Navadagala Padumakitti Tissa Thero, Commander Security Forces - Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Commander Northern Naval Area Rear Admiral Ravi Wijegunarathne, Government Agent Jaffna Mrs. Emelda Sukumar and Mayoress Jaffna Mrs. Yogeswari Pathgunarasa were among the distinguished guests who attended the annual Mass.

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