Text and Pix by P.D. de Silva
The 112th annual feast of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Matara will be held today. Holy masses will be held at 8.30 a.m., 10.00 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. The bishops and other dignitaries will be welcomed at 3.30 p.m.
Bishop of Ratnapura, the Most Rev. Dr. Cletus Chandrasiri Perera will be the Chief Celebrant. The Rosary, Litany, Vespers will be held at 4.15 p.m., followed by the Marian procession with the Miraculous statue of Our Lady of Matara. On September 8, mass in Sinhala will be at 4.00 a.m., mass in Sinhala and Tamil at 5.00 a.m. and mass in English and Sinhala at 6.00 a.m.
Rosary and Litany will be held at 7.15 a.m. Most Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickramasinghe, the Bishop of Galle, will be the Chief Celebrant at the festive High Mass which will be held at 8.00 a.m. Mass in Sinhala will be held at 12.00 noon and 5.00 p.m.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Matara was known as the Church of Our Lady of Mahature. The Statue of Our Lady of Matara revered for its miracles is of the Madonna and Child and said to resemble Portuguese sculpture of the early 17th century. The Statue has been taken by the sea on three occasions and has been returned to Matara on each occasion.