We could learn about that from one of his close collaborators, Archbishop Emeritus Oswald Gomis, who was ordained a priest and bishop by Cardinal Cooray and later succeeded him as Archbishop of Colombo. Archbishop Gomis made an interesting observation that Oblates gave a number of bishops to Sri Lanka and that the places where Oblates were bishops have become the places with the biggest number of Catholics in this country.
However the day wasn’t only about learning it was also about the Communion of Saints as we made our way to the Tewatta Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Colombo. In the early days of World War II Archbishop Jean Marie Masson OMI, the last Frenchman to be metropolitan of Sri Lanka, made a vow in 1940 to the Blessed Mother to build a Marian shrine in her honour if the country was saved from the ravages of the war. Cardinal Cooray kept the vow made by Archbishop Masson and started to build this beautiful basilica, slowly but steadily in spite of the criticisms. Some were asking, why build a huge basilica instead of building houses for the poor? The Cardinal not only purchased lands for the poor, but also built houses for them. Amidst all the work, he completed the construction of the National Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka. After his death in 1988 he was buried under the Basilica. The Crypt is also the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Our whole group gathered in the crypt to pray at the grave of our saintly Oblate Cardinal and to celebrate Eucharist. It was such a spiritual moment when we entered the crypt and immediately walked to the grave of Cardinal Cooray. As I was looking at our Sri Lankan Oblates I could see their deep attachment and fraternal love for the man who wasn’t simply an outstanding Church figure but who was always an Oblate among his Oblate brothers. As a young Oblate he consecrated himself to the Virgin Mary. Then he wrote: “I salute thee O sure refuge of sinners whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desire of the divine Wisdom; and for that receive the vows and offerings which my lowliness presents to thee, I Thomas Benjamin, a faithless sinner I renew and rectify today in thy hands the vows of my baptism, I renounce forever Satan ….O faithful Virgin meekness in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the incarnate Wisdom Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain by thy intercession and thy example the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in heaven. Amen”.