Srilanka, Feast of Pentecost 2018

Srilanka, Feast of Pentecost 2018

The Kithu Dana Pubuduwa celebrates The feast of The Pentecost for the 47th year in succession.

 

Ranjana Kaviratne
NST Chairperson, Sri Lanka
Member – ISAO Sub-Committee

A new year in the journey for the Kithu Dana Pubuduwa – Pubuduwa for short begins with the celebration of The Feast of The Pentecost . After  a period of discerning prayer our beloved founder Rev.Fr.Siri Oscar Abayaratne gives the Annual Theme for the Feast which gives direction to our spiritual journey till the next Pentecost Feast.  Though advanced in years and not in the best of health we earnestly hoped that the Lord will give Fr. Oscar the grace to proclaim to us the Theme for this year too. Our prayers were answered when he gave us the theme over a  period of a few days which the Divasi Ekathuwa – The National Prophetic Assembly synthesized to read “ Your Word, Your Will, A Fire And A Blessing”  

The Feast of Pentecost which takes the form of a Prayer Rally is really a vigil which begins at 5PM on Saturday and ends at 6AM on the following Sunday in anticipation of a fresh out pouring of the Holy Spirit.  The preparation for the Rally starts off with the National Prophetic Assembly appointing the Rally committee . It in turn appoints several subcommittees to cover all aspects of the Rally. Let me enumerate the work it has to complete before the event takes place.

1.Spiritual preparation:

  • Another group is selected and given the responsibility of drawing up the nine preparatory novenas for all those who will participate.
  • A roster is drawn up for a six-week prayer chain with the participation of all the sixteen large communities and those at the national level of leadership.
  • A preparatory retreat is organized for those selected for the ‘Extra-ordinary Eucharistic ministers’ which is conducted by the Priest –in –charge of Liturgy.
  • All the requirements for the Festive High Mass is prepared and made available by the ‘Subandhi Community’

2.Preparation of the ‘Prayer Stadium’ at Sri Prasansaramaya – The venue of the Rally

  • A roster is drawn up for the communities to send volunteers to clean up the grounds to accommodate the participants of the Rally.
  • Volunteer youth stream in to help with the wiring for lighting and the loudspeakers.

3.The Dance troupe, the Drummers and the choir and orchestra of the Pubuduwa hold their practices .

4.The stage is paid special attention: An artistic cut-out is constructed to depict the Theme of the year and placed on top of the roof of the stage. The youth section takes responsibility for this.

5.A special team is given the responsibility for providing parking facilities for the buses and other vehicles that transport the participants at the rally.

THE DAY OF THE RALLY – SATURDAY 12TH MAY 2018

At ten O’clock in the morning Holy Mass was celebrated for all those who were working, putting the finishing touches  to the Rally grounds. At the completion of Holy Mass the celebrant prayed the official prayer of exorcism and blessed the entire grounds by sprinkling holy water.

By three in the afternoon the participants started to arrive. They all came dressed in white. In accordance with tradition beating of the drums called ‘Raban’ declared to the surrounding areas that a celebration was taking place.

Apart from a few stragglers all the participants were in by 5.30 pm. The number of participants was estimated at around 20,000.

While a number of priests, nuns and other religious including seminarians attended the Rally the following bishops also participated:  The Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Most Rev.Dr. Pierre Nguyen Van Tot; Auxilliary Bishop of Colombo, His Lordship Most Rev.Dr.Maxwel  Silva; Most Rev.Dr. Cletus Chandrasiri Perera O.S.B. Bishop of Ratnapura; Most Rev.Dr.Norbert Andradi O.M.I. Bishop of Anuradhapura  and Most Rev.Dr. Raymond Wickremasinghe Bishop of Galle. The Bishop of Chilaw had sent a short message stating his inability to attend and invoking his blessings on the participants.

The Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Pierre Nguyen Van Tot  in his sermon requested the people to pray for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit upon the Church and exhorted  them to willingly permit the Holy Spirit to inspire them to love in the way Christ loved. He gave the Apostolic blessing of the Holy Father. At his request he was given the opportunity to meet a group of Non-Christians who received the Sacrament of Baptism after being evangelized during the evangelization drive of the Pubuduwa named  “Operation Joseph Vaz”

Most Rev. Dr. Cletus Chandrasiri  Perera O.S.B. Bishop of Ratnapura reminded the gathering that the Lord Jesus wished to be our friends. He stated that although we sometimes betray the Lord’s friendship He always waits for our return and willingly restores the relationship.

Most Rev.Dr.Norbert Andradi O.M.I.  Bishop of Anuradhapura spoke to us regarding the responsibility of the Pubuduwa towards prophetic action in the field of Social Justice for which the Pubuduwa had already taken steps like encouraging its youth to have “Simple Weddings”. He challenged the Pubuduwa to be a sign of Contradiction like unto our Lord “leading to the rise and fall of many.”

Most Rev.Dr. Raymond Wickremasinghe  Bishop of Galle encouraged and assured us that the Pubuduwa is strong enough to withstand any challenge and come out triumphant. He gave the assurance that the church was behind us  in prayer supporting us on our way with the Lord. He told the crowd that He had asked the Lord to save us from rainy weather that was threatening a washout of the Rally. He assured us that the Lord was going to answer positively to his prayer and that it definitely would not rain. True enough it had rained right round in the surrounding areas but the Prayer Stadium was spared. Praise the lord! Alleluia!!

The highlight of the Rally was the Theme talk delivered by Ranjana Amma the head of The Divasi Ekathuwa.  She began her talk by reminiscing the experience of Rev.Fr.Siri Oscar Abayaratne the outcome of which was the beginning of the renewal experience in the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka. She spoke about how the them we received for this year took effect in the life of Fr.Oscar – Swami Thattha as we fondly call him. Then She described how Jesus as the Word and fulfilled the Will of God from the moment He received the Baptism of the Spirit on the banks of the Jordon, till He uttered the words “It is Finished on the cross” which became a fire and became a blessing for the entire Creation. Obeying the call of our Lord Jesus  we are called upon to answer His call “Come follow me”

Interspersed with these talks were the performances of our drummers and dancers.

The candle light service which we have at the time we pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit is the final highlight of the rally. All priests present at the Rally are invited on stage, the lights are extinguished and a senior priest is called upon to light the paschal candle.  Then all those on stage light their candles and then the flame is passed from candle to candle till all the candles of all the participants is lit. This is followed by a fervent prayer led from the stage for a fresh anointing for all the participants. It is indeed a moment of profound blessing.

 

Obeying the call of our Lord Jesus  we are called upon to answer His call “Come follow me”