The Devotion to Our lady of Madu in Sri Lanka
Gamini Perera s.j.
There are three national shrines in Sri Lanka which are dedicated to Our Blessed mother. One in the north, one in the west and the one in the South. In these three shrines the people of Sri Lanaka ddress the blessed mother by three different names. The one in the north is called the our Lady of Madu and one in the south is known as the Our Lady of Matara. The one in the west is the Only Basilica that the catholic church in Sri Lanka has, and it is called the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka. All these three shrines are very dear to the people of Sri Lank and to the catholic faith in Sri Lanka.
However the shrine situated in the north, called the shrine of Our Lady of Madu seems to attract almost all the Srilankans. For some reasons or the other as the people of Sri Lanka exercise their devotion to Our Lady,the devotion to the church dedicated to Our lady of Madu takes the prime place.
Due to the prevailing war situation in the northern part of the country, the regular functioning of the shrine was interrupted. Therefore almost for the last 20 years the people from the other parts of the country were not able to go freely to this shrine of our Lady of Madu. Practically every month the shrine of Madu celebrate a fest in honouring the our Lady. The feast which is celebrated on the 15 th August is one of the main feasts that attract many devotees to of our Lady of Madu.
Over many years, in the lives of the Sri Lankans and in the history of Marian devotion of the Sri Lankans, our Lady of Madu has given a very profound faith experience. This shrine stands as the symbol of unity and present Our lady as the true mother of all the Sri Lankans.
This year on the 15 th of August., the Sri Lankans who live in Napoli came together to celebrate the feast of our Lady of Madu at the church of Gesł Nuovo in Naples. Prior to the feast day four novenas and the vespers were held as a preparation for the feast.
On the feast day we had two Holy masses celebrated. On the feast day afternoon Sri Lankans came together to manifest their love and devotion to our lady in a very devotional and colourful procession in which the statue of Our Lady of madu was carried.