As much as fee levying private missionary schools have not been able to bring up children with religious values, the late Rev. Kala Suri Marcelline Jayakody remains one, who went in search of values in his faith.
When his alma mater, a Missionary College in Colombo, put him out for not being able to pay the arrears fees he opted for seminary training to pursue his school education as a student. Although education is now compulsory for 13 years, there was a high drop-out rate, during the missionary school days due to the inability among parents to pay the fees missionary schools levied.
Such schools were not patronised by the State like now, hence those who were unable to pay facilities fees had to drop out.
Yong Marcelline Jayakody was not an exception and had the wisdom to seek entry to the Seminary to complete his primary education.
Most of the dropouts from the private schools now seek admission to Government schools as the only option to complete the 13-year education programme.
Not only Rev. Fr. Jayakody, but a lot of unfortunate children had to leave in the private missionary schools due to poor financing conditions.
However, with his upbringing in a homely Buddhist atmosphere, the Temple was a part o his life.
Many who promote reconciliation have emphasised the need to take the essence of all religions and base a Rule of Law in terms of the prescriptions of these faiths.
The late Rev. Jayakody justified this thinking and mobilised authorities to achieve these ends.
He used music and lyrics of indigenous ecclesiastical verse in this mission. However many before Rev. Jayakody had attempted this. It needs language and literature skills and the philosophical knowledge, which could be achieved only with an open mind.
Christianity was first introduced to the country during the latter part of the Anuradhapura Period, for which there is evidence- that of a Nelum Kurusaya (Petal Cross), which is believed to have been found carved in the Abhayagiri Monastery.
Even the Christ was colloquially named as Abishek Buddha, which means as the Anointed One in the Christian faith.
The composition of the Mangala Geethaya by late Rev. Fr. Jacome Gonsalves, CO and the famous composition of the Song Deviyo Uppanney Sathuni, could only originate from a rural agricultural community.
The Christian songs of the pre-Portuguese era had been rewritten or updated with better melodies in keeping with the indigenous verses.
Many revolutionary artistes like Fr. Jayakody and Francis Molligoda emerged in the post-independence era. They fall in line with Ananda Samarakoon, Sunil Santha and Rukmani Devi.
The struggle for a national music continued with the Radio Ceylon and even in Churches. There was also a musical revival of the Buddhists, with Latha Walpola and Mohideen Baig in the same period.
As the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is always conversant in the development of indigenous music in Sri Lanka, has once expressed that there had been wise men, who have not been in the school system.
Education is not only indoctrination according to a curriculum. This is the tradition of music the Jayakodys and Molligodas have bestowed to the heritage of the Catholic Church.
It is up to the stakeholders to patronise this tradition for the betterment of our culture.