New St. Anthony's Church in Kachchativu vested in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jaffna
The St. Anthony's sacred Church in Kachchativu Island has long been the pinnacle of reverence of both Indian and Sri Lankan Catholic devotees. Turning a new chapter of reconciliation the Government of Sri Lanka’s, movement towards accountability for sustainable peace, the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne vested the newly constructed St. Anthony's Church in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jaffna today (23).
This historic occasion was also attended by the Governor of the Northern Province, Hon. Reginald Cooray, Bishop of Jaffna, His Lordship Rt. Revd. Dr. Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam, Vicar General of the Diocese of Jaffna, Very Revd. Fr. Pathinathar Josephthas Jebaratnam, Parish Priest of Delft, Revd. Fr. A. J. Antony Jeyaranjan, Consul General of India in Jaffna, Mr. Shri A. Natarajan, District Secretary of Jaffna, Mr. N.Vethanayahan, Commander Northern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva, senior officers and a large number of distinguished guests. Further 82 devotees from India and approx 100 devotees from Sri Lanka also attended this occasion.
Kachchativu is a small distant island of 1.15 Square kilometres located 10 km away from the Delft Island, with no human habitation. However the fishing community has used this island over the years in order to mend their fishing gear after strenuous venture out at sea. Accordingly, the small St. Anthony's Church in Kachchativu had become their place of worship during such visits. The annual Kachchativu feast which is held in February, attended by a large number of Indian as well as Sri Lankan devotees with a great sense of spiritual attachment to this Island.
On completion of the last year’s feast, held on 21st February, the Vicar General of the Jaffna Diocese and Bishop of the same Diocese His Lordship Rev. Dr. Justin Gnanapragasam indicated the requirement of constructing a new Church on Kachchativu Island prior the annul feast of 2017. Responding positively to the request of Rev. Bishop, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne issued directives to a dedicated team of naval personnel to undertake the construction of new Church with immediate effect.
Accordingly, the construction work of St. Anthony's Church commenced under careful supervision of Commander Northern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva. The foundation stone laying ceremony of the Church was held on 9th May 2016 under the auspices of Jaffna Vicar General Rev. Father Joseph Das Jebaratnam.
Speaking on the occasion, the Bishop of Jaffna, His Lordship Rt. Revd. Dr. Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam expressed that the newly opened Church in Kachchativu could be declared as the ‘Church of Reconciliation’ as it is open for the reverence of all Sri Lankans from different walks of life. Mementoes were also exchanged to mark this memorable occasion.