Young Sri Lankan Catholics and Anglicans seeking unity

An Anglican and Roman Catholic Joint Youth Conference is held on “so that they may be one” (Jn, 17-22). Young Catholic and Anglican leaders meet to le

Jul 22, 2016

COLOMBO: An Anglican and Roman Catholic Joint Youth Conference was held recently at the Subodhi Retreat Centre in Piliyandala, just outside Colombo. The topic of the meeting was “so that they may be one” (Jn, 17:22).

Organised by the Archdiocesan Catholic Youth Federation and the Church of Ceylon (Anglican) Youth Movement, the event brought together some 45 young Anglican and Catholic men and women, from both Tamil and Sinhalese communities.

The aim of the meeting was to learn "how to become a true disciple of God" and put it into practice together in the future.

"At the end, God will not ask whether you are a Catholic or an Anglican, but only if you are a disciple of God,” said the Anglican bishop in order to raise consciousness among the young people.  “For this reason, we must lead our lives in this world”.

“It makes no sense now to inquire about each other’s physical differences; we must work together,” said some of the participants.

"This is the fruitful result of the dialogue between the two Churches,” said Fr Samuel Ponniah, director of the Church of Ceylon Youth Movement. “For the first time in Sri Lanka we are having a big event of this type with some good purpose.”

The conference can be an opportunity to meet three expectations as one church.  The first, “main purpose is to build fraternity between the Catholic and the Anglican Churches. For this reason, it is useful to begin with the young,” said Fr Gihan Gunatilake, director of the National and Colombo Diocese Youth Federation, speaking to AsiaNews.

“Secondly, some common problems affect our religion. Thirdly, we must make a common effort to get the government to introduce Christianity in the high school curriculum. At present, the two are presented in separate materials and texts. in the future we would like a single subject and a single text. "

“Whatever our Church, we must love God,” said Bishop Dhiloraj. “Only when we work together as a single Church, God is pleased with us. We must work together, because a divided Church is a scandal and God does not expect such divisions, he expects us to be together."

“Young people do not live according to the Bible and try to live as they see fit,” said Anne Cuttilan, 23, from St John’s Anglican Church in Panadura, who also spoke to AsiaNews. "Through this conference I found out what my commitment should be as a Christian".

"As everybody knows,” she added, “there are some differences between us. We do not worship or do not give the first place to Mother Mary, but we respect her as the mother of Jesus . . . We must put aside these differences and be united as one family in the name of God, our only God. "

Patricia Nishanthi, 24, is Catholic and a youth leader of the Diocese of Ratnapura. "I had some wrong ideas,” she told AsiaNews. “I was proud to be a Catholic, and did not have positive attitudes towards Anglicans, Methodists and other Christian communities. I always thought that Roman Catholics were the best or on higher level than others. Now I know that such thoughts are meaningless."--Asia News

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