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Some 5,000 Sri Lankan Catholic youth from north and south pray together at Tewatta Shrine

1st Nov. 2013: In Sri Lanka, thousands of youth gathered together to pray at the shrine of the Virgin of Tewatta, the patroness of the island nation. It is a blessing for all of us young people to pray together at the feet of Our Lady of Lanka," said Tamil youth from northern Sri Lanka. Some 5,000 Catholic youth from every district of the island nation took part in this special event, organised by the National Youth Federation. Set on 19 October, the Youth Day's theme was 'Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
The day began with a prayer service in front of the ancient cave that houses the statue of Our Lady. The youth followed this with ​​a procession walking in groups divided according to dioceses, showing the "typical" colours of their parishes and posters dedicated to the Virgin. At the end of the procession, everyone recited the Hail Mary in Tamil and Sinhalese. After the special prayer, Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam of Jaffna, blessed them.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatta was commissioned by Jean-Marie Masson, then archbishop of Colombo. In 1940, the prelate made a vow that if the island was spared the horrors of war, he would build a church to the Virgin. In 1946, he obtained Vatican's permission to build it and dedicate it to Our Lady of Lanka.


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