Sri Lankan community honours founder
On April 6, the Sri Lankan community honoured their founder, Sr Sushila Thomas, who recently returned to Singapore to serve on a project undertaken by the Good Shepherd sisters.
During the celebration, Ms Clara Perera, a founder member of the Sri Lankan community recounted how the community was formed in 1995, when Sr Sushila arrived in Singapore as a missionary to serve the Sri Lankan migrant workers.
Ms Perera related how Sr Sushila would go around the Little India area on Sundays looking for Sri Lankan Catholics. She gradually went on to organise classes for cooking, typing, dressmaking and computer skills.
Although Sr Sushila left Singapore in 2002, the community she founded continued to meet at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes under the guidance of Ms Geneview Kanangara, who once served at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant People.
In 2008, the Sri Lankan community was blessed by the arrival of Friar Julian Mariaratnam, a Franciscan friar of Sri Lankan origin. The community thus continued to meet every Sunday at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes and celebrate Mass in Sinhalese.
During this time, the community embarked on a project to produce a Sunday Missal in the Sinhalese language. They currently have produced missals for two liturgical years and the publications are used by the faithful back in Sri Lanka.
In March 2014, due to lack of space at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Sri Lankan community temporarily moved to Chestnut Drive. Every Sunday they celebrate Mass in Sinhalese at noon at the Franciscans’ Greccio Friary, and thereafter, they meet for fellowship at the adjoining CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace.
The community also spends time making audio recordings of the daily Mass readings, and these recordings are available on the Sri Lankan Catholics Facebook page.
Friar Julian, chaplain of the Sri Lankan community, believes that there are many Sri Lankan Catholics in Singapore who are unaware that they can participate in a Mass celebrated in their own language.
For more information, visit the Sri Lankan Catholics Facebook page or their website at www.srilankancatholics.org.