Sri Lanka has been one of the first overseas missions which Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate accepted. Today more than 300 Oblates continues the mission which St Eugene de Mazenod entrusted to those fist four Oblates he sent there in 1847. Faithful to the vision of their Founder the Oblates keeps challenging themselves not to get too comfortable in the places they are familiar with, that’s why today there is only one Oblate church in Colombo, all the other parishes ,as they are well established, have been handed back to the Archdiocese. The remaining parish is an unusual place. You can’t see it from the street as it is kind of hidden among other buildings. However once you get there you fill like in a piece of haven. The spirit of community which worships the Lord and reaches out to each other is expressed by the design of the compound but the most striking characteristic if the place is that the people who come to the church they are not simply Mass attendants who come and then selfishly disappear after the Eucharist. The people here are taking time to show interest in other members of the community. It is a hidden gen indeed.
Similar spirit I was able to observe in another Oblate parish. The place is located in the mountain, in the Sri Lankan tea paradise. However the tea paradise doesn’t mean that everybody is wealthy. This community is a poor community when it comes to the material possessions but it is rich in faith. When I saw their church first I felt sorry for them but when we walked inside I started envying them their spiritual richness. Even when the Mass was over the parishioners run various activities like Sunday school, reflection groups etc. The place was so lively and vibrant. Even with limited resources a lot can be achieved when there is faith. That another hidden gem I found in Sri Lanka.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest