Caritas Sri Lanka Migration Unit in coordination with the Caritas Colombo Seth Sarana, Catholic Commission for Migrants and ZOA Sri Lanka organized the World Day for Migrants and Refugees on Sunday 29th of September, 2019 at St. Anne’s Church, Wattala.
The Main Sunday Holy Mass was celebrated in Commemoration of the Migrants Day by Rev.Fr. Mahendra Gunatilleke , National Director Caritas Sri Lanka – SEDEC, Rev.Fr. Lawrence Ramanayaka, Director Caritas Colombo – Sethsarana and Rev.Fr. Sanjeeva Mendis, and a large gathering of religious, parishioners, children at the St. Anne’s Church Wattala.
During the Prayers of Faithfull, while lighting the candles everyone present specially prayed for the migrants and refugees worldwide. An Iranian refugees living in Negombo, Sri Lanka Lanka representing all the refugees, offered his prayers in the Persian language. Fr. Mahendra Gunatilleke during his sermon narrated migration stories found in the Bible and made numerous references to the present day migration and refugees crisis. In addition, he also pointed out importance of protecting and caring the victimized migrants and refugees, especially as the Holy Father has paid a strong focus on the migration and refugee concerns through his, “Share the Journey Programme.”
It was a novel idea for the parishioners, to touch upon and reflect on the issues of social justice related matters, especially during their Sunday Mass. It was noted that they were curious to find out more information about the migrants and refugees. To cater to that Caritas also arranged a stall with booklets, brochures, stickers, posters disseminating information to the participants.
After the Holy Mass, a Street Drama was staged depicting the aspects of migration promoting safe organized migration practices. At the event, Caritas activities were carried out in line with the Government initiatives of safe labour migration and promoting the immediate hotline number (1989) to provide required information and help to the migrants and to their family members.
Then a march was also organized in participation of the Priests, Nuns, and Parishioners, Sunday School Teachers and children and Caritas migration Staff members.
In line with the World Migrant’s Day another progrmme also held in Jaffna under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Eugene Francis – Director Caritas Jaffna – HUDEC. The main commemoration was held at the Passaiyoor, St. Antony’s Church premises. More than 350 participants from 4 parishes participated in the Eucharistic Celebration and the awareness programme. At the end a stage drama was also staged to raise awareness of the safe labour migration practices.