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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Church brings theology to the young

ucanews.com reporter, Colombo

ucanews.com reporter, Colombo

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Father Cecil Joy Perera presenting a copy of his book to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith
Father Cecil Joy Perera presenting a copy of his book to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith
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The first Church-run theological institute in Sri Lanka has been providing education on theology to lay youths to help strengthen their faith at a time when Catholicism faces the challenges of sects and people leaving the Church. “We do not have many theology books in Sinhala. It should be improved…It’s a challenge to face the evangelical groups,” said Roshita Fernando, 37, who completed study in Christianity in the Sinhala language at the Joseph Vaz Deva Dharma Nikethanaya. The Sinhala/Tamil Theologate in the Archdiocese of Colombo, on Dec. 15 conferred Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in Christian studies to 53 students, including one priest and 16 Religious, at St. Joseph’s College in Colombo. “Most Christian youths do not have a good knowledge in Christianity,” said guest lecturer Professor Anton Meemana from St. Lasal University in Philippines. Many Catholic books in English were published during the missionary period, the professor said. Although the liturgy was converted into local languages, the interpretation and finding suitable local terms were difficult due to a lack of specialists. “We need to build a Culture of Literature on Sinhalese Theology,” Father Cecil Joy Perera, rector of the 27-year-old theological institute told ucanews.com. The national director for liturgy said the institute had published over 150 books and 17 digests in Sinhala. During the seventh convocation, the center also launched twelve books on saints, church life, challenges and Christianity in the present context. Still, the priest said “We have to face challenges and reach our goal.” Hundreds of degree and diploma graduates working in the private and state sectors continue to help with Church mission. The Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission recognizes the Sinhala/Tamil Theologate, established in 1983, as a degree-conferring institution. Apart from degree courses, it also offers the three-month course on Church teaching. Currently there are over 4,000 evangelical centers nationwide and institution branches in Negombo, Kurunegala and Ratnapura. Related reports Aquinas College confers first degrees Liberate Globalization From Profit Motive, Aquinas Rector Tells Sri Lankans Christians protest anti conversion bill SR12515.1632

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