The St. Anthony's sacred Church on Kachchativu Island has long been the pinnacle of reverence of both Indian and Sri Lankan Catholic devotees. Giving precedence to customary rituals, the annual feast of the St. Anthony's Church was celebrated yesterday (24 February), on a successful note. This year’s feast marked the second of its kind conducted at the new church built by the Sri Lanka Navy.
For the first time in history, the Feast Mass was held in Sinhalese as well and it was conducted by Bishop of Galle Diocese Raymond Wickramasinghe. Meanwhile, the Feast Mass in Tamil was conducted by Bishop of Jaffna, Rt. Rev. Dr. Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam This annual religious celebration was also attended by State Minister of Child Affairs, Hon. (Mrs.) Vijayakala Maheswaran, Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Commander Northern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Jayantha De Silva, its new Commander due to assume the office, Rear Admiral Merril Wickramasinghe, senior officers and a large number of personnel from tri-services and Police. Apart from approximately 10,000 Sri Lankan and Indian Catholic devotees, a large number of religious dignitaries including sisters were also in attendance at this annual religious event.
Being a leading partner of this historic religious ceremony, Sri Lanka Navy facilitated the transportation of devotees, largely thanks to the opening of the second stage of the Delft Jetty. Besides, Navy also provided meals and all infrastructure facilities, including installation of sanitary and drinking water facilities. Temporary jetties were made ready for people to secure their boats conveniently, and special SLN lifesaving including medical teams were deployed to ensure the safety of the devotees attending the annual festival.