During his presence at the annual festival of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu in Mannar today (15), President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced plans to transform Mannar into an energy hub. He also revealed that an inter-city express train service between Thalaimannar and Colombo will commence on September 15th aiming at enhancing connectivity and facilitate smoother travel between the two cities.
It is also noteworthy that President Ranil Wickremesinghe participated in the morning service of the feast this year.
Subsequent to the main ceremony, a revered statue of Lady Madhu was respectfully carried in procession throughout the church grounds to pay homage to the devoted attendees.
A significant number of devotees from various parts of the island gathered for the annual feast. The year 2024 marks the completion of 100 years since the enshrinement of the revered statue of Lady Madhu. The church management board has decided to hold services throughout the year to commemorate this occasion.
Rev. Dr. Brian Udaigwe, the The Vatican Apostolic Nuncio of Sri Lanka, who attended the main service, commended President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s statement in Parliament regarding National Peace and Reconciliation. He mentioned that this statement has received the blessings of the Vatican and the Catholic Church.
Rev. Dr. Brian Udaigwe emphasized that religious leaders have a crucial role in maintaining peace and harmony in the country. He also stressed that whether a religious figure divides or unites the country is determined by their own actions.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe further commented:
It must be acknowledged that the annual feasts of the National Shrine of Lady Madhu are an integral part of our local culture. Therefore, considering this festival as a national event, the government bears the responsibility of safeguarding and supporting its continuation.
Furthermore, on this occasion, I extend the government’s gratitude to all the clergy who dedicate themselves to organizing the annual Madhu feast.
Numerous devotees come here to seek solace through prayers to Lady Madhu. During last year’s economic crisis, a substantial number of devotees gathered here to pray for Lady Madhu’s assistance and protection. It can be said that Lady Madhu’s blessings provided us with strength during that challenging time.
The Mannar region, where the National Shrine of Lady Madhu is located, possesses abundant renewable energy resources. With access to solar, wind, and green energies, the Mannar district can be developed into an energy hub.
We have also formulated plans to transform Punarin into an energy city. It is important to note that all these development initiatives are designed to preserve this sacred land and its forests. I have instructed officials to seek advice and guidance from the clergy here during these development efforts.
An inter-city express train service from Thalaimannar to Colombo is scheduled to commence on the 15th of September. This service is being launched in response to the request of MP Charles Nirmalanathan. Additionally, steps have been taken to establish a sugar factory in Vavuniya, as requested by MP Selvam Adekkalanathan. Cabinet approval has been obtained for this project. These measures aim to facilitate rapid development in these regions. Through these endeavors, we aspire to build a developed Sri Lanka by 2048. I count on your support in achieving this goal.
The event was attended by bishops led by Bishop of Mannar Dr. Emmanuel Fernando, clergy including President of the Christian Development Foundation of Sri Lanka Dr. Chandru Fernando, Minister of Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickramanayake, Minister Naleen Fernando, State Minister Arundika Fernando, Kader Mastan, Member of Parliament Kavinda Jayawardene, Selvam Adekkalanathan, Charles Nirmalanathan, President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake, and a large number of devotees.
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