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125th year celebrations at St. Joseph’s: Cardinal Ranjith wants Joes to make society a better place

29 August 2022 01:36 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith at the service



Schools should not strive to produce citizens who are obsessed with power, money and do not want to give up power, but instead produce students who really work for the betterment of the society, Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said while urging students to follow this principle when he spoke at the occasion when St. Joseph’s College Colombo celebrated 125 year of existence. This event was held on June 15 at St. Joseph’s College.  
Cardinal Ranjth said that destruction was caused by those who strive for money and power; adding that there is evidence that those who don’t want to give up power exist today.

“The most important thing the Rev Fathers, sisters, parents, teachers could give the children is to assist them to grow into the holiness of life, through practice and virtuous living, so that society itself can be made a better place. In other words it is not so much the results of the exams or sports tournaments that matter, but the capacity these children develop towards spiritual and moral excellence. The call is to get these children to imitate the school’s patron St. Joseph; whom the bible calls a just man. Do not take pride only in the number of doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians , other professionals or world famous cricketers, hockey players , actors , dramatists, the college has produced over the years, but in the number of holy men who have come out of these portals to serve humanity,” Cardinal Ranjith said.


"The school boasts of its former principals (rectors) including late Fr. Maurice Legoc a well-known botanist during yesteryear who was able to save the Sri Mahabodhi; the sacred Bo tree"

“What is most important is not merely academic or extracurricular success, good results at exams or at tournaments, but serious attempts to create heroic witnesses to do an extra bit for God and the Society and the kind of persons who take joy in seeing the success of others and help one another,” he added.

Having opened in March 1896 St. Joseph’s got a new building in 1933. It was in the 1930s that science subjects were introduced. The school’s buildings were taken over by the Army in 1940 with the breaking out of World War II. However the institution continued education with branches housed in Homagama, Kelaniya, Gampaha and later Borella. On July 30, 1952 the swimming pool was opened by the then Governor General of Sri Lanka Lord Soulbury. The school had to endure a dark period with the government’s policy of schools being taken over and St. Joseph’s became a private non fee levying school. This was a challenging time and the then Rector Fr. Don Peter founded the welfare association.  In 1979 a scheme was started to pay incentives to teachers based on punctuality, attendance and solid teaching. The institution flourished over the years and had ended up having branches in Negombo and Enderamulla.


The First Day Cover with the stamp handed over to Cardinal Ranjith


Throughout its 125 year history the school has produced eminent personalities who are well-known locally and around the world. These include the late Cardinal Thomas Cooray the first Sri Lankan Cardinal, Member of European Parliament and House of Commons Niranjan Devaditiya, Archbishop Oswald Gomis and lyrics writer and artiste the Ramon Magsay prize winner the late Fr. Marcaline Jayakody. St. Joseph’s College also produced the second Executive President of Sri Lanka the late Ranasinghe Premadasa and other politicians such as John Amaratunga, Harin Fernando, late K. W. Devanyagam and Neomal Perera. It has produced accomplished legal personalities such as former Chief Justice Priyasad Dep and sportsmen such as Chaminda Vaas, Angelo Mathews, Tisara Perera, Ian Daniels, Michael Vandort , Sadeera Samarawickrama and Roshen Silva. 

The school boasts of its former principals (rectors) including late Fr. Maurice Legoc a well-known botanist during yesteryear who was able to save the Sri Mahabodhi; the sacred Bo Tree in Anurdhapura from dying, well known writer the late Fr. Don Peter- who had penned several children’s books- and late Fr. Peter A. Pillai.
Eminent priests who worked at St Joseph’s College including Fr. Cyrspin Leo, Fr. Victor Silva, prominent old boys and senior teachers including Ms. Nimala Perera, past teachers and students participated at the colourful ceremony on June 15. A stamp was also issued to mark the event.


A section of old boys present at the service held to celebrate the jubilee event of the school

  Comments - 2

  • Villo Wednesday, 31 August 2022 11:55 AM

    Yes, make this country and the world a much better place with sane people. As the Cardinal already knows the state of the Universal Church and the Vatican are also under the horror of people who robbed the power and control of the Church after the 1958 conclave and never want to give up because they are supported and backed by the communists, masons, and modernists. Dismiss the P2 masonic lodge of the Vatican with the sacrilegious reforms of Vatican II and by its Popes.

    Herman Amal Fernando. Friday, 16 September 2022 11:35 PM

    I don't think I, it's the old boys that matter. It is the current Administration

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