Chilaw is a coastal area in the northwestern province of Sri Lanka, spanning a land area of about 3,013.4 square kilometers. It comes under the northwestern province of the country. Chilaw is a seaside town on the west coast of the island of Sri Lanka. It is famous for crabs and coconuts. This is the second most important capital of the North Western Province where coconut plantations thrive.
Chilaw in early times was not only a reputed seaport it was also famous for its pearl fishery. Chilaw diocese is well known for its picturesque lagoon, a paradise for shallow sea fishing activities. More recently prawn farming activities have also flourished in the area. The history of this diocese goes back to the arrival of North Indian Prince Vijaya, 2500 years ago in Tammanna in the coastal belt above Puttalam. This happened when his vessel was washed ashore. Thonigala the homeland of Kuweni is situated deep in the district. Chilaw diocese is the second largest coconut producer in the country. And Tabbowa, fertile land for agriculture records the highest paddy production per acre. Holland fort at Kalpitiya, St. Anne's Church in Thalawila, and Munneshwaram Kovil in Chillaw underline the historical importance of this diocese. Munneswaram temple is a popular Hindu temple that is north of the capital, Chilaw. The temple is dedicated to the main deity in Saivism namely Lord Siva and is one of the five ancient Sivan temples on the island.
Chilaw has been the home of 'Nadagam' an integrated version of the dramatized 'Way of the Cross' and the Sinhalese 'Koolam' a form of devil dancing practiced by lowlanders - the first form of Sinhala drama in Sri Lanka. The great Mahatma Gandhi, the "Father of India", once visited Chilaw in 1927 on his first and only visit to Ceylon. The Kaffrinha had a community in this coastal district. They were brought to the island of Ceylon by the Portuguese from African villages. The Kaffir slaves settled here and their descendants speak Portuguese. The population of the Chilaw diocese, the population is 835,000 at end of 2016. (The population of the whole country 21,670,000.) Most residents are Sinhalese.
Now the Bishop of the Chilaw diocese is Bishop Warnakulasuriya Wadumestrige Devsritha Valence Mendis. He was born on May 21, 1958, at Koralawella in Moratuwa and ordained a priest on July 20, 1985, at St.Joseph's church, Wennappuwa. He was consecrated as Co-Adjutor Bishop of Chilaw on April 02, 2005. Bishop Valence Mendis completed the M.A. at the University of Peradeniya and became the visiting lecturer in the department of Philosophy in the national seminary. Bishop Valence Mendis completed the M.A. at the University of Peradeniya and became the visiting lecturer in the department of Philosophy. He speaks Italian, German, Latin, English, Sinhala, and Tamil. He was the first director of the national seminary philosophate. Bishop Valence Mendis is the chairman of the National Commission for Education, Bible apostolate, and catechetics. Chairman of the National Commission for Migrants, refugees, and health. Chairman of the national commission for ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue of the catholic bishops' conference of Sri Lanka.
Chilaw diocese is adjacent to Anuradhapura in the North, Batticaloa in the West, Colombo in the South, and Kandy in the Central. The diocese was founded on Jan 5, 1939. Bishop Edmund Peiris, O.M.I. was consecrated as the first bishop. He was appointed on Jan 12, 1940, and resigned on Dec 27, 1972. There are now 40 parishes with 99 resident priests.
Earlier the Kurunegala diocese was under the Chilaw diocese and was later carved out as a new diocese of Kurunegala. The Chilaw diocese patron saint is Our Lady of Mount Carmel. There are 284,150 baptized Catholics in the diocese of Chilaw.
The Sinhala and Tamil languages are in use.
The rainy season begins in May and lasts till August and October to January, this is the time of year when heavy rains can be expected. Warm weather prevails from February to April and cooler, temperate weather from December to February. The average temperature is about 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since the 19th century despite deadly sectarian violence in recent years. The church at Sarfaraz Rafiqui Road in Lahore was established as a wooden structure during the British colonial era, on Oct. 31, 1842, to provide pastoral care to the British soldiers. It completed 180 years this year.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.