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St Joseph Vaz National Day Celebration

Oct 27, 2017
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The Catholic National Commission for Laity organized the ‘St Joseph Vaz National Day’ on November 4, 2017 as the grand finale to the Year of St. Joseph Vaz. The key aspect of the program is to come together to celebrate and reflect on the life of St. Joseph Vaz in unity and harmony under the theme of ‘Let us fulfil the dream of St. Joseph Vaz by bearing witness to the Gospel.’

The St. Joseph Vaz National Day program is to be held at the National Shrine of St. Anthony, Wahakotte. The program will commence at 11am with the inauguration of an exhibition on the life and mission of St. Joseph Vaz and the work of the Lay Apostolates. At 5pm there will be a special presentation on the life and mission of St. Joseph Vaz by His Lordship most Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando (Bishop of Kandy and the Chairman of St. Joseph Vaz National Secretariat). The highlight of the program will be a Night Vigil of Prayer commencing at 8pm and ending with the Celebration of Holy Mass at 4am.

Though St. Joseph Vaz (1651-1711), Apostle of Sri Lanka was born in Bernaulim, Goa, India, he dedicated his whole life to the resurgence of the Catholic faith in Sri Lanka when he heard of the sufferings of the Catholics under the Dutch. In 1687, braving grave obstacles and a storm at sea he made his way from Tuticorin, India to Sri Lanka. He and his companion John were off-loaded at Mannar, and with much difficulty made their way to Jaffna where his mission began. He encountered not a clerical Church but a Church of the laity in Sri Lanka when he arrived.The beauty of his mission was that in the absence of Catholic priests he ministered by empowering the lay faithful. He did this by building a lay leadership structure, to collaborate with him in resuscitating the Church. He raised and appointed lay leadership which continued to lead and look after the local flock during his absence in between his visits, encouraging faithfulness. This also resulted in the raising up of mature and committed disciples among the faithful. He displayed heroic sanctity when he ministered the people of Kandy plagued with the small pox epidemic. His deep faith in God and intercessory power was publicly manifested when the long period of drought in Kandy ended with torrential rainfall everywhere, except over the area where he was praying.

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