Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Maligawatte, is situated in the heart of the city of Colombo, about one hundred yards away from Panchikawatte main junction, along Pradeepa Mawatha catering to the spiritual needs of numerous Catholics living in the vicinity.
Maligawatte, Queen of Peace Church is surrounded by many other neighbouring Catholic parishes such as St. Anthony’s of Dematagoda, St Joseph’s of Grandpass, St Sebastian’s of Hulftsdorp, and Our Lady of Fatima, in Maradana.
The area is inhabited by various groups of people and being a trade hub of motor spares, Panchikawatte is the busiest location in the city of Colombo-10, from dawn to dusk.
About a quarter-century ago the location of the present Church was a marshy block of land filled with bushes and shrubs, not appropriate for human habitation. It was the master strategy of Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa, the then Minister of Local Governments that transformed the region.
His initial plan was to construct numerous decent housing schemes in the area and fill them with different categories of people like artists, singers, actors, actresses and government officials. Once the area was populated with different categories of people realising the importance of their spiritual welfare, he thought of constructing different religious places of worship in the locality.
Thus he allocated plots of land for Buddhism, Hinduism, Islamism and Christianity.
The present place where the Church is located was a gift of the President to the Roman Catholic Church during the episcopate of Rt Rev. Dr Nicholas Marcus Fernando, the then Archbishop of the metropolitan archdiocese of Colombo.
Under his direction Rev. Fr. Bertram Dabrera undertook the responsibility of constructing the present parish Church making use of the engineering expertise of Dr Milroy Perera and the financial aid of Mrs Irene Agnes Alles.
Indeed it was an incredible dream of Fr. Bertram to construct such a beautiful edifice on the marshy land of Panchikawatte.
Today it stands as a beautiful octagon style masterpiece in the city of Colombo. The newly constructed Church was blessed and consecrated by then Archbishop of Colombo on September 8, 1994, the Birthday of Blessed Virgin Mary.
"Hoisting of the flag followed by novenas will commence on Thursday, September 19...concluded with Silver Jubilee High Mass presided over by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on September 29 at 8 a.m. "
The newly-constructed Church was dedicated to our Lady Queen of Peace and the feast is celebrated annually on the third Sunday of July, motivating the people to be united and forget the wretched ethnic violence of black July in 1983, in our country.
This octagon shaped Church is covered with transparent glasses in all sides except the façade area and whoever enters the Church will have a clear view of the main Altar and be able to take part in services admiring the beauty of surrounding nature.
Further, it also contains a beautiful Choir Loft which adds to the beauty of the edifice.
The structure is such that not only can the devotees have a clear view of the celebrant but also every one gathered there. The architecture of the Church is mixed with Buddhist and Sri Lankan style of construction.
A good part of the parishioners dwell in the vicinity occupying houses in the National Housing Schemes. Added to the original housing schemes, there are numerous new schemes that have come up in and around the Church in the recent past and people from all walks of life have occupied the newly built schemes and among whom a good number are Catholic.
Recurrence of such government housing projects from time to time in the area, keep on adding to the strength of the parish. The occupants of the area are a mixed racial and religious community where Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems and the Catholics live harmoniously.
During this period of 25 years Rev. Frs. Bertram Dabrera, Malcolm Perera, Crisp Abeyrathne, and Camillus Fernando have served the faithful of Maligawatte and they are still fondly remembered by the parishioners of Maligawatte as they prepare to celebrate the silver jubilee of their parish Church.
In preparation of the forthcoming jubilee celebration parishioners cooperating with parish priest did a facelift to the entire quarter-century-old structure, by re-fixing the fibreglass octagon shape dome roof with solid polycarbonate clear sheet, fixing new set of fans, rewiring and fixing some additional electric lamps, installing CCTV cameras, and colour-washing the entire Church and mission house etc.
In view of spiritual preparation for the celebration, hoisting of the flag followed by novenas will commence on Thursday, September 19, 2019, and it will be concluded with Silver Jubilee high Mass presided over by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, on September 29 at 8 a.m.
Indeed it will be not only a day of joy and happiness but also a day of God’s blessing to every member of Maligawatte parish family.