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A Latin Choral Requiem Mass in Negombo for Emeritus Archbishop Nicholas Marcus Fernando



“Missa Pro Defunctis” – the solemn Requiem Mass in accordance with the old Roman Latin Rite will be celebrated in all its solemnity at 6 pm on Friday April 16th, 2021 at St. Mary’s Church, Main Street, Negombo. It will be presided over by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Colombo’s Archbishop, his auxiliaries and several bishops together with over 200 priests.

It is noteworthy that the late Archbishop, in his Last Will and Testament had specifically requested that his funeral Mass and the final Rites be conducted entirely in Latin. His death on April 10, 2020 and the final ceremony thereafter, had to be curtailed owing to the rising Covid-19 pandemic and therefore, his last wish was left unfulfilled.

However, to commemorate his first death anniversary, the Archdiocese of Colombo has deemed it fit to fulfil the late Archbishop’s final request by conducting a solemn sung Eucharistic Celebration based on the traditional Latin Rite, thereby revealing the mystical charm of the Gregorian chants. Before the Vatican II Council, all Catholic faithful throughout the world were able to regularly experience the profound pathos of such a requiem when bidding farewell to their dearly beloved.

Thus, a vibrant choir of over 100 men and women, all being past students of Ave Maria Convent, Maris Stella College, Loyola College, St. Jude’s College and St. Aloysius’ Seminary, as well as from the Parish youth choir, banding themselves together as the “Pueri Cantores Choir”, for the past several weeks have been training assiduously under the guidance of an exacting choral director. In order to accompany them, a talented orchestral ensemble is ready to present together, sacred songs written in Sinhala, English and Tamil to the extent the liturgy permits such a diversity. For the choristers and the faithful alike, this sacred event will offer a rich experience of the incomparable beauty and piety of the Roman Catholic liturgy.

The entire Mass and final Funeral Rite will be set in the somber yet sadly sweet style of the Gregorian tradition. However, at the culmination, the great choir along with the orchestra will explode into the glorious strains of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”, changing the scene into a celebratory exultation for the life and toil of a noble servant of God, Archbishop Nicholas Marcus Fernando. It will be in thanksgiving for his indefatigable service in guiding the Archdiocese of Colombo with equal gentleness and firmness for over a quarter of a century during the most turbulent period in the history of our Country and the Church.

The people of Lanka’s “Little Rome” who have been mourning their loss in silence will now assemble in their numbers to proclaim;

“Well done good and faithful servant, our gentle Shepherd, and even as

your mortal remains lie within our sacred edifice of Mother Mary, our hearts will cherish

your fragrant memories for long years to come.”

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Cabraal: Prez appoints members to Port City Economic Commission



By Shyam Nuwan Ganewatta

The President of the country would always appoint members to the Colombo Port City Economic Commission, entrusted with running of that city under the proposed CPCEC Bill, State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, yesterday, told the media, in Colombo.

State Minister Cabraal said that most critics of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill had not even read it.

“Sri Lankans don’t need to obtain a visa to enter the Port City as some claim. The Port City will be administered by the Colombo Port City Economic Commission and the Bill we have presented details how the area will be governed,” Cabraal said responding to a question posed by a journalist.

The State Minister said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had asked him to counter the misinformation and fake news that was being spread about the Bill. Once people have read and understood the Bill, most who criticise it would have to change their tune, the Minister said.


Journalists also questioned the State Minister on the allegations levelled by MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse. The State Minister said that Rajapakse had not even asked a question about the Bill during the Parliamentary Group meetings.

“As I said earlier, the Port City will be administered by Colombo Port City Economic Commission. All members are appointed by the President. The Chairman of the Commission too is appointed by the President. The President can get rid of them anytime he wants,” Cabraal said.

The State Minister added that no one would be allowed to withdraw money or assets from Sri Lanka and invest in the Port City. “This is a special economic zone. We need to attract foreign direct investments. We need to have ease of doing business in this zone and we have to make it an important financial hub in the region.”

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Two hotels to be built obstructing elephant corridor in Sinharaja – MONLAR



Forest land being cleared for the construction of a hotel

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Bowitiyatenna elephant corridor, used by elephants in Sinharaja to travel to Dellawa – Walankanda forest had been obstructed by two businessmen by clearing a section of the forest to build hotels, Sajeeewa Chamikara of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) said.

“One hotel is being constructed in the Dolekanda Grama Niladari area after clearing seven acres of forest land. The Kalawana Divisional Secretariat has approved the construction of the hotel ignoring environmental regulations. Right now, forests are being cleared, land is being prepared and buildings are being constructed using heavy equipment.”

Another hotel was being built at the Bowitiyatenna Elephant Corridor, situated in Godakawela Divisional Secretariat area by a businessman from Godakawela. He has cleared around eight acres of forest land, the environmentalist said.

The two hotels were obstructing the elephant corridors used by the remaining two elephants in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Now, the the people of Rambuka, Thanawela, Ellagama, Handiyekade, Kajugaswatte, Pothupitiya, Kopikella and Cypresswatte would have the elephans marauding their villages, the environmentalist said, adding that the residents of those villages would lose property and lives due to the hotels being constructed by obstructing the elephant corridors.

“Most of the forest areas surrounding the Sinharaja are to be annexed to the Forest Reserve because they are an important part of the forest network. These unscrupulous businessmen and politicians supporting them are attempting to carve out as much land as possible before these areas receive protected status. They are also doing their best to delay the declaration of these lands as protected areas.”

Chamikara said that the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) had the power to take action against those who carried out such illegal activities.

According to Section 23 (a.) (a.) of the National Environmental Act, when a project is carried out without environmental clearance, the CEA can produce such people before a magistrate’s court. If found guilty, a person can be fined up to Rs. 15,000 or imprisoned up to two years or subjected to both.

Chamikara said: “According to Article 27(14) of Chapter VI of the Sri Lankan constitution the state shall protect, preserve and improve the environment for the benefit of the community.” However, the CEA seems to have no interest in taking action against those who are building these hotels illegally. This is CEA’s attitude to almost all major environmental destruction that seems to be taking place these days.

“The government is silent when the Sinharaja forest is degraded and elephant corridors are closed by businessmen. The right to land seems to be a right reserved only for businessmen. We have the right to oppose these under article 28. (f) of the Constitution which states that we have a fundamental duty ‘to protect nature and conserve its riches.’ Article 28. (e) states that we also have a fundamental duty ‘to respect the rights and freedoms of others.’ Thus, we, the citizens have the right to oppose the illegal use of natural resources by powerful businessmen. If we do not oppose these moves as citizens, powerful businessmen will take over all our natural assets like they are doing at Sinharaja.”

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RDHS predicts Coronavirus spike in Jaffna over the weekend



By Dinasena Ratugamage

There might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna this weekend, A.

Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday. Dr. Kethiswaran made the prediction after 26 new cases were detected in Jaffna.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported from Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be locked down, he said.

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