Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena extended his greetings to all Christian devotees who are preparing to commemorate Christmas. He was speaking during this year’s State Christmas Festival held at the Hindu Cultural Centre in Trincomalee last Saturday.
In his message the President stressed that Christmas, which delivers the message of peace and love to the world, is an important occasion to boost reconciliation and harmony among different communities. He called on everyone to follow the spirit of Christmas and join hands with the government to achieve reconciliation among the country’s many communities for the benefit of its future without allowing any room to war.
The President stated that the light of humanity always dawns with Christmas. He also pointed out that the objective of Christmas is to give life to underprivileged people and all of us have the responsibility in this regard.
The annual event was organised by the Department of Christian Affairs under the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs in association with the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Sri Lanka.
John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, and Rohitha Bogollagama, Governor of the Eastern Province, represented the civil authorities. The Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Phêrô (Pierre) Nguyên Van Tot, Mgr Winston Fernando, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka, and Mgr Noel Emmanuel, bishop of Trincomalee were also present.
As part of the event competitions were organized and the president presented the winners with awards and certificates. 750 economically challenged families in the Trincomalee region were given dry rations, school and other requirements.
Each year the state festival is held at a different location represented by the Bishop’s Conference. In 2015 it was held in Jaffna and in 2016 in Negombo while this year it was held in multi-ethnic Trincomalee in order to foster peaceful cohabitation among different communities in keeping with the message of Christmas. (AsiaNews)