Feast of ‘Our Lady of Matara’ | Daily News


Feast of ‘Our Lady of Matara’

The feast of our Lady of Matara will be celebrated from September 7 to 9. Mammoth crowds are expected to participate this event. All facilities will be provided by the Administrator and Parish Priest Rev. Fr Michael Colin Nixon with his Assistant Rev. Fr. Thusith Asiri and the Parish family.

The Miraculous statue

Experts in Europe say this three hundred years old statue of Mother and Child which has been carved out of one block of Ash wood declares that the statue in its features is characteristic of Portuguese style in sculpture of the 17th century.

As to who brought this statue to Sri Lanka or who the sculptor for was or from which country it came from is shrouded in mystery, but the fact remains that is was with us when the Portuguese occupied the Western and Southern coasts over 300 years ago.

When the Portuguese were defeated by Catholics (1698-1796) some devout Catholics fled from the Dutch Governed area with this statue and hid it. Later the statue found its way to Matara.

The story of the statue’s travel from time to time, over 300 years up to 1911 is interesting.

Legend tells us that a huge crate was hauled out by the sea by some fisherman of Weligama. When it was opened, this beautiful statue of Mother and Child was found safely inside.

These fisherman handed over it to the Parish Priest and it was subsequently placed at St. Mary’s Church Matara. This statue had come on its own, over the waves and given itself to the Catholics of Ruhunu Rata unchaperoned.

Our Lady of Matara Shrine is in the boarder of the sea and Mother Mary is ever ready to help of all who visit Her Shrine and present their petitions and pleas for redress. She is called the star of the Ocean.

The statue was lost on three occasions, the last occasion being the famous Tsunami where, the statue was washed away during Sunday Mass on December 26 in 2004. It happened to be Holy Family Sunday. In all three occasions the statue was found.

It is also a common belief that people who kneel and pray before this statue the never goes home without their prayers being answered.

On September 06, Holy Hour will be conducted by Rev. Fr. Charles Hewawasam, Vicar General of Diocese of Galle. Vespers will be officiated by Rt. Rev. Dr. Cletus Chandrasiri Perera OSB Bishop of Ratnapura on September 8 the Festival High Mass will be con celebrated by the Most Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickramasinghe together with Rt Rev. Dr. Cletus Chandrasiri Perera. Accommodation in schools will be available from Thursday September 06.

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