Multi Religious Ceremonies in Ratnapura to bless former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.
The events on June 28th were particularly significant in that the Multi-religious Forum- Imbulpe was established under the programme of "Building Religious Harmony for Co-existence" launched by SAPRI, the Chair of which is Madam Kumaratunga.
SAPRI, one of the foremost think tanks in South Asia is conducting several workshops and activities with the ownership of the communities on the theme of Religious Harmony for Co - existence to foster peace and empathy among the various religious groups. The Ratnapura district is one of the areas that the project has been conducted successfully.
Children, the future generation of the country are given special focus in SAPRI's programme to build religious harmony and they figure in most of the activities conducted within the programme.
On 28th of June a range of religious activities was conducted commencing from a service at St. Mary's Church in Belihuloya performed by Rev. Father Tensil Perera. Children dressed in their blue and white Sunday school uniform, took a prominent place in the congregation of about 100 who attended the service and a special prayer was conducted to bless Madam Kumaratunga. The hymns were sung in both Sinhala and Tamil. Later at a ceremony conducted for the children, Rev. Father Tensil Perera stressed on the need to maintain religious identity while respecting all other religions and said that this could contribute immensely towards enhancing religious harmony and coexistence in the community. He referred to the existing good relations among leaders of different religions in the area signifying the deep bond and connections they share, setting an example for the communities in the area. Rev. Father Perera commended the programme of Religious Harmony conducted by SAPRI and the activities it has conducted in the Ratnapura district so far.
The historic Sri Suvisuddharamaya Temple in Belihuloya was the venue for the next religious ceremony presided over by the Chief Prelate Venerable Kosgama Vineethajeewa Thero who conferred blessings on the former President with the participation of the children in the community. Children of three Sunday Schools in the area participated, the girls dressed in white "lama sari" and the boys in white national dress. A Kaprukh pooja was performed for the betterment of the former President's continued well being. The Chief Prelate highlighted the achievements of former President Kumartunga and referred to the brave role played by her during the conflict with the LTTE, despite being attacked by a suicide bomber and losing an eye.
At a religious ceremony performed in the Rassagala Muthumariamma Temple too children played a prominent role. Swamy P. Kanagalingamsarvana performed a special ceremony with flowers, fruits and incense to invoke blessings on former President Kumaratunga. Over 50 children of Rassagala, from three years upwards, dressed in their festive attire recited a special prayer of blessing for Former President Kumaratunga.
Winding up the series of religious activities was the ceremony held at the Ratnapura Jumma Mosque organized by I. Lebbe Nizam and the Board of Trustees of the Mosque where special prayers were offered by Moulavi A.C.M. Hussain invoking blessings and good wishes on the former President, who had worked untiringly to preserve unity among all communities in the country. Moulavi Hussain also prayed for the prosperity of the country and its people and said that the prayers were significant as they were offered during the holy period of 'fasting'. The students of the Batugedera Arabic School dressed in traditional attire chanted prayers wishing former President Kumaratunga well on her 70th birthday.
It was noteworthy that all the religious functions were attended by persons from different religions.
The greetings and good wishes of Former President and SAPRI Chair Madam Kumaratunga were conveyed to the religious leaders, children and participants during all the religious activities. The deep appreciation of Madam Kumaratunga for the outstanding programme in Ratnapura was also articulated at each of the places of religious worship.
In collaboration with SAPRI and under the guidance of Venerable Kosgama Vineethajeewa Thero of Sri Suvisuddharamaya Temple in Belihuloya, Imbulpe, the Ratnapura District Focal Point of SAPRI's Programme on Religious Harmony Shantha Ratnayake together with Working Committee President Alan Seeman and Secretary Chamila Dayangani organised and coordinated the activities of the day in Ratnapura district. Sarath Udawatte of Rassagala and I. Lebbe Nizam were instrumental in getting Hindu and Islamic religious activities organized.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Asian Tribune.
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