CHENNAI: Katchatheevu St. Anthony's Church Festival which witnessed the participation of both Indian and Sri Lankan people ended on a good note. Katchatheevu St. Anthony's temple festival is usually held in the last week of February or the first week of March every year. This year it was announced to be held on March 3rd and 4th.
Following this, 2195 devotees from India in 59 mechanised boats and 11 country boats left Rameswaram for Katchatheevu on Saturday to participate in this ceremony. The festival flag was hoisted after the arrival of 2800 devotees from Sri Lanka. This was followed by the Stations of the Cross program and the night Sapparabhavani. The people of the two countries mingled and talked about their livelihoods and enjoyed renewing their relations in the weaving moon courtyard under the night-glow land lights.
Following the Thiruchepamalai program held at 6 am Sunday, the bishops were welcomed and the festival liturgy was offered. After that, the festival was held under the leadership of Reverend Bishop Antran Thillanayagam of Colombo District and Jebaratnam bishop of Jaffna District. Indian - Sri Lankan bishops, staff, Sri Lankan government representatives, army officers and devotees of both countries participated in this. After the completion of the festival Thirupali, the devotees of both countries bid farewell.
It is noteworthy that if fewer devotees were allowed to participate in last year's festival due to the Corona epidemic, this year's festival was attended by a large number of devotees. Niomi from Sri Lanka's Thirukonamalai said about the trip to Katchatheevu Island, "I am Niomi and I have come to Kachadeevu for the first time and it is a new experience for me."
Another deevotee, Arogyaswamy, belonging to Kudanthai in Tamil Nadu said that he came to the festival for the 11th time this year. He said that they are praying for good relations between the two countries progress in the economies as well.
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