Holly Mass held in Bethlehem to bless President Mahinda Rajapaksa
A Holy Mass was held at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on 17th evening to bless Sri Lanka and President on his 67th birthday. The Holy Mass was organized by the by Friends of Sri Lanka in Bethlehem in association with the Representative Office of Sri Lanka in Palestine.
The chief guest at this Mass was the new Mayor of Bethlehem Mrs. Vera Baboun. The other participants included members of the first group of tourists that visited Sri Lanka in 2008 and many others who had been to Sri Lanka later. Local businessmen, academics, tourist agents and a number of Catholic sisters from the local Churches also participated. Only a few Sri Lankans from Tel Aviv could participate due to the unsettled situation in Tel Aviv.
Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Bethlehem Advocate Michele Shomaly in his welcome address stated that it had now become a tradition in Bethlehem to bless Sri Lanka and President Mahinda Rajapaksa with a Holy Mass held during the month of November every year.
He spoke about the defeat of terrorism under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the development taking place throughout the country. He further stated that the country is now united under one single national flag. He has embarked on an ambitious program to ensure democracy throughout the country by bringing in a new political vision that seeks both development and reconciliation in order to build a new Sri Lankan nation.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa he said offered the olive branch to the vocal opposition inorder to work together on national, political and social issues to create a poverty free Sri Lanka by 2015.
Mr. Michelle Shomaly also spoke about the realationship between Sri Lanka and Palestine and the visit of late President Yasser Arafat to Sri Lanka in 1997. President Mahmoud Abbas he said visited Sri Lanka twice proving the close relationship between the two countries.
Finally he said that let us today pray for the prosperity of Sri Lanka and Palestine; may God accept our prayers for peace.
Dr. T. Jayasinghe, Representative of Sri Lanka, in this address thanked Mayor of Bethlehem Madam Vera Baboun and Mayor of Beit Jala Dr. Nael Salman and the distinguished guests for coming over to participate at this Holy Mass. It showed their love for Sri Lanka in no uncertain terms.
The Mass was conducted by Rev. Fr. Eyad Twal.
The Mass was followed by a reception organized by the Representative Office of Sri Lanka.
- Asian Tribune -