St. Anne’s, Thalawila holds thousands of hearts | Sunday Observer

St. Anne’s, Thalawila holds thousands of hearts

20 August, 2017

It was amazing and true when it happened at the annual Festival of St. Anne’s when she appeared symbolically at Thalawila when thousands of devotees flocked to see and hear their gentle shepherd, Rt. Rev. Dr. Valence Mendis along with Rt. Rev. Noel Emmanual, Lord Bishop of Trincomalee and a visiting Bishop from Jordan, Rt. Rev. Lord Bishop Maroon Lahm who led the Holy Mass. Bishop Valence started off the service invoking peace and blessings of the Lord upon the beleaguered nation people:-

‘You must trust in the Lord and not be afraid to surrender yourself to him in faith and he will look after you when you experience peace of mind and protection from evil: The Bishop touched on the sufferings of the poor and in lighter tone quipped ‘We do not need mosquitoes’ probably referring to the deadly dengue but he said :- ‘take a look at the poor fishermen who battle with the deep sea risking their lives and come back without a haul only to starve with their families. So are the farmers and the rest of the poor but if you all trust in the Lord, you shall not starve’.

Words of wisdom, words of convictions and words of truth from Bishop Valence who is a caring, gentle and loving disciple of Jesus who abides by the Christian precepts he teaches and this is known to his sheep whom he tends not only from his Diocese in Chilaw but from around country who throng in their thousands each year in the presence of St. Anne’s who visits Thalawila unseen by her devotees and so strong in their belief.

Bishop Emmanuel read a passage from the Bishop referring to the spiritual upbringing by Anne, her daughter, Virgin Mary in nurturing her towards the future preparation of the Holy Conception.

The Bishop rounded up his simple sermon with a dip into the Holy Bible reflecting on three visions, One of which I picked from Mathew, 17-5-10’ While he was talking, a shining cloud came over them and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my own dear Son with whom I am pleased, listen to him. When the disciples heard the voice, they were terrified that they threw themselves downwards on the ground. Jesus came to them and touched them. ‘Get up’ he said’ ‘don’t be afraid. So they looked up and saw no one but Jesus. As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘don’t tell anyone about the vision you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from death’.

After the farewell blessings, he preached the departing devotees who were still hesitating to leave, ‘Go in peace, the Lord Jesus will always be with you’ Resplendently decked in flowers, St. Anne’s chariot led the way out escorted by the cadets of the Ceylon Navy and followed by the three Bishops who participated in the Holy Mass, wondrously organized by the parish priest, Rev. Nelson Samantha, who spared no pain to make the day spiritually memorable.