Sri Lanka

Bishop of Jaffna Thanks Defence Secretary

Jaffna Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundranayagam has thanked Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for granting permission to celebrate the feast of St. Anthony at the Kachchativu island.

He has written expressing gratitude for the assistance provided by the Sri Lankan Navy which had taken much pains to carry out the necessary preparations for the feast.

“The Parish Priest of Delft was granted permission to proceed with his assistance in order to prepare the church and its premises for the feast. Nearly 4000 devotees from here and India had taken part in the feast.

The Sri Lankan Navy had taken much pains to carry out the necessary preparations for the feast,” the letter from the Bishop said. (Courtesy: Daily Mirror)

Haj Pilgrims to Increase this Year

The Sri Lankan Government has taken steps to increase the number of Hajj pilgrims and to reduce the charges on the Hajj pilgrimage this year. Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie who is in charge for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage held a media briefing yesterday morning at his official Residence before he left to Britain.  “We will negotiate with the Saudi Government to get more facilities to the Hajj pilgrims. I have a duty to safeguard President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan Government, pilgrims and the Hajj operators” Minister Fowzie said. He also said that the Sri Lankan delegation comprising five members including deputy minister A.R.M. Cader would meet the Hajj Affairs Minister of Saudi Arabia.

Temple Buildings Bulldozed

The Chief Incumbent of the Arugambay Sambodhi Viharaya filed a rights plea in the Supreme Court against the bulldozing of several buildings belonging to his temple.

Special Leave Facilities for Muslim Employees during Ramazan

Special leave will be provided for the government sector Muslim employees during Ramazan period to pursue their religious observances.

Dutch Priest in Sex Abuse

Bishop Ad van Luyn of Rotterdam in the Netherlands has reported a Dutch priest to the police for alleged sexual abuse in Sri Lanka. Pending an investigation, the priest has been suspended with immediate effect by the Rotterdam diocese, which contacted the police following questions raised by Radio Netherlands Worldwide and daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The priest, who until today was pastor in the towns of Leidschendam and Voorburg on the outskirts of The Hague, was a regular visitor to Sri Lanka where, according to the diocese he is "active in the field of charity".A spokesman for the diocese said it was informed in July 2009 about "possible sexual abuse and possible financial misappropriations by this priest while in Sri Lanka". The priest is the fifth Roman Catholic clergyman who has been suspended because of an investigation into alleged sexual abuse. The Dutch embassy in Sri Lanka says it knows nothing about the case.Information in the hands of RNW and NRC Handelsblad shows that the same priest was known to have had sexual relations with boys in the 1990s. At the time he was serving as a pastor in the former St Anthony parish in the city of Dordrecht. In 1995, he was reprimanded by Bishop Ad van Luyn because of his "lifestyle".However, despite this he was then promoted to the post of Deacon of The Hague, where he remained for a couple of years. The diocese spokesman said that what happened in Dordrecht was "a possible failure to comply with the pledge of celibacy", and not sexual abuse. (Radio Netherlands) Source: Radio Netherlands 17/04/2010 Daily Mirror