Lighting a catholic shrine

Feb 5 (InfoLanka) Under a government programme to provide electricity to places of religious worship, the Tewatte Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka, a Catholic shrine, which attracts thousands of devotees, every week, was provided with National Grid power recently.

Power and Energy Minister Karu Jayasuriya inaugurated the power supplies by switching on a button and illuminating the church and its environs.

The supplies were provided on a request made by Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga.

Fr. Meryl Shantha, the Basilica administrator, welcoming Ministers Amaratunga, Jayasuriya and Jayalath Jayawardena, thanked the government for taking steps to provide electricity before the annual feast on February 8 and 9.

He said tens of thousands of devotees flock to the Basilica throughout the year to seek the blessings of Our Lady of Lanka to obtain relief from sicknesses and troubles. Provision of electricity would be a great boon to the pilgrims, he said.

Minister Amaratunga said that the provision of electricity to the Basilica was the result of a concept of Minister Jayasuriya in providing major places of religious worship with electricity supplies. Under this concept Kirivehara Viharaya at Kataragama was provided with electricity.

Mr. Amaratunga thanked Mr. Jayasuriya for the noble task undertaken by the Ministry of Power and Energy at a cost of Rs. 16 million.

Minister Amaratunga said that under the programme, St. Jude's Church at Indigolla and St. Anthony's Church at Wahakotte would be provided with electricity soon.

Minister Jayasuriya said the government launched the programme because it believed that if people followed whatever faith they believed in they would be disciplined and orderly and therefore provision of facilities to promote such an environment was for the common good.