Hindu donates statue, renovates church
Devout follower's wife wanted the dilapidated building refurbished
ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
April 27, 2011
A large crowd thronged to St Anthony’s Church at Opatha, on the outskirts of Colombo, to see the statue, which is made of fiberglass, around 15 feet high and some 3½ tons in weight, on its 20ft high pedestal.
K. Raju, an ardent Hindu who attended the ceremony on Easter Sunday, renovated the church and donated the statue to the poor parish.
He said “it was a flowering of a dream of his late wife” who had wanted to see the renovated church but died before it was finished. "But I did all what I could to make her dream come true.”
“We must be content with what we have and whatever we receive. All that has come from God Almighty. I strongly believe in that providence. St. Anthony has been helping and guiding me and this, though very small, is a token of my honor and gratitude, to the Lord” he said.
The village of Opatha is a predominantly a Buddhist area. Within this Parish there is another church in Crooswatta village which was once set on fire by Buddhist extremists.
However, the Episcopal Vicar of Colombo Northern region, Father Patrick Perera, attending the ceremony, said: “Buddhists living in close proximity to the Opatha Church showed their solidarity with the Catholic community in preparing the road leading to the church to welcome the statue of the Risen Lord that was brought in procession.”
Father Don Jude Lakshman, the parish priest of Kotugoda parish, expressed his appreciation of the manifestation of tolerance, religious amity and coexistence through the co-operation shown by the Buddhists in working with the Catholics.
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