In Sri Lanka, the annual festival at St. Anthony’s Church in Katchatheevu island was attended by hundreds of Indian Catholic pilgrims from Tamil Nadu and nearby areas.
The pilgrims on March 16 took bath and attended Mass conducted in both Tamil and Sinhala languages. The Tamil Mass was led by Father Joseph Lurduraj from India.
About 6,500 Catholics from Sri Lanka and 2,100 from India attended the event.
The Kachchateevu feast has been an important annual event for both Indian and Sri Lankan Catholic devotees. The annual festivities of the St. Anthony’s Church, which began in 1905, is seen by fishermen from both sides with a great sense of spiritual attachment.
Many term St. Anthony as savior to them in difficult times. India handed over control of uninhabited Kachchateevu Island to Sri Lanka in 1974.
Sri Lanka Navy provided meals and all infrastructure facilities, including electricity, installation of sanitary and drinking water facilities. The practice was interrupted during the three-decade long LTTE conflict and was revived after end of war in 2009.