K. Theivendirarajah served Caritas Sri Lanka for almost 40 years: (Photo: Facebook)
Sri Lankan Catholics are mourning the loss of a Tamil lay Catholic worker who served more than 40 years at Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC.
K. Theivendirarajah, who joined Caritas Sri Lanka in 1980, died on Aug. 7 in Batticaloa. He was a member of the Caritas International Cooperation Committee for Asia and a reference group member of the strategic panel of Caritas Internationalis during the last general assembly.
Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC is the social arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka and is affiliated to Caritas Internationalis. The Social and Economic Development Centre (SEDEC) was founded in 1968.
Aruna Shantha Nonis, convener of the Born to Win Relationship, said Theivendirarajah was a truly beautiful man who served Caritas for almost 40 years and won the hearts of many people.
"His vast experience with people throughout the major catastrophes in Sri Lanka including the 30-year war and tsunami made him what he is," said Nonis, who worked with Theivendirarajah at Caritas.
"He certainly marked a huge milestone in the journey of Caritas Sri Lanka."
Theivendirarajah, popularly called Theiva, joined Caritas Sri Lanka in 1980 as part of the immediate relief service program under the guidance of Father Joe Fernando, who had met him when he volunteered to help victims during the 1978 cyclone in Batticaloa.
"He presented his ideas and opinions very carefully with clear words and had an ocean of information about various profiles in society. He was a great conversation companion," said Nonis.
"Since he was able to handle Tamil, English and Sinhala languages, he could easily communicate his ideas not only in our country but also with international representatives of Caritas."
"Dear Theiva brother, have a safe journey," Nonis added.
R. Scolastika said Theiva brought commitment and dedication to every aspect of work he was involved in before he was appointed tsunami program manager.
"There is no story of Caritas Sri Lanka since 1980 until today without Theiva. He was part of the social apostolate of the Sri Lankan Catholic Church," said Scolastika, who worked at the animation unit of SEDEC.
"Theiva dedicated his life to the poor and the suffering. He supported war widows, children and the families of the enforced disappeared in war-affected areas."
She said Theiva was a man who really dedicated his life to the love of God and the love of the people.
He worked in the training and animation unit at Caritas Sri Lanka. He was also head of the relief and rehabilitation unit and national coordinator of the peace program.