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Sunday, 24 April 2011





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Our prayers for peace have been answered:

Christians invoke blessings on Good Friday

A Devotee at the St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade

St. Mary’s Church Hendala

Christians all over the world commemorated Good Friday on April 22. Churches belonging to the various sects in the country experienced an influx of devotees on the day which marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, 2000 years ago. Mass was held in all churches mainly in the morning and some churches conducted several masses during different times of the day. Some churches conducted masses in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages. The sermons re-iterated what is widely known as the seven words of Jesus on the cross which exemplifies patience and submission.

Clad mostly in white, devotees also took part in the procession which enacted the death of Jesus Christ which proceeded from one junction to another as participants sang hymns. Devotees recited prayers throughout the day. The restricted frequency of public transport did not affect devotees’ attendance as they say they made plans to ensure they attend the masses on time.

We attended some of the masses that took place in the churches around the city and in the outskirts to find out what people felt about Good Friday this year.

I am now able to pray without fear and that is truly a blessing, said Benjamin Perera of Bloemendhal after attending the afternoon mass at St. James’ Church in Mutwal. “Two years back I would have not brought my three year-old-daughter to a mass due to the fear of bomb explosion which was a common scene in the past years, but it feels like all our prayers have been answered and it is relieving to know that we live in a safe country now”, said Benjamin.

St. Mary’s Church in Hendala, Wattala and St. John the Baptist Church in Kandana held their Good Friday masses outdoors and the sun did not deter devotees from participating in prayer.

We come to church on Good Friday every year with the same spirit, said Lucile Callista Francke of Elakanda. “This is an important day and it doesn’t matter that the mass is being held outdoors, what matters is that we are all united”, she said. Some devotees were very emotional at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade where they took turns to kiss the feet of the statue of Jesus Christ to empathise with His pain of crucifixion.

The crowds were controlled by designated church staff to ensure that all devotees were given an opportunity to participate in the rituals.

St. John the Baptist Church in Mutwal was crowded with devotees attending the afternoon mass. My mind is so free attending this mass, said Saman Watawala of Mutwal. “I am so greatful we have the freedom to attend the church service.

Truly, the peace and harmony we have in the country today is an utmost blessing”, he said. St. Michael’s Church, Colpetty, The Salvation Army Church, Slave Island, Christ Church, Galle Face also had many hundreds of devotees attending the Good Friday Mass where choristers constantly mesmerised congregations with their vocal talent.

The prayers also marked the prelude to Easter Sunday which is being celebrated all over the world today.

The day marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ and concludes Lent, the 40-day fasting period which is observed from Ash Wednesday and it commenced on March 9 this year.


Devotees walking into the mass at Christ Church, Galle Face

Devotees engaged in prayer at St. John the
Baptist Church, Mutwal

St. James Church in Mutwal during the afternoon mass

A statue at St. Anthony’s Church Kochchikade covered to
mourn the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

A devotee lights a candle at Fatima Church, Church of Infant Jesus in Slave Island

St. John the Baptist Church Mutwal

The Salvation Army Church, Slave Island
Pix: Nissanka Wijesinghe

Devotees singing hymns at St. Michaels church, Colpetty


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