The latterly renovated Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine which was dedicated to the name of Blessed Virgin Mary is an extraordinary Shrine. What is the specialty of this Shrine? Is it as Lord Jesus appeared here and appointed an Apostle for the entire world? Or is it due to Blessed Virgin Mary appeared twenty-three times? In fact, all the above are the greatest extraordinary incidents. But there is another specialty of this Apparition Church. There are a hundred thousand of churches erected on this earth across world. Possibly there are tens of millions. Among all of them except a very handful of churches, rest are the churches speculated by men to construct a church, a suitable land chosen by men for that purpose and decided by men to erect a church in that place. But in this world, there are five churches built according to the wish of Blessed Virgin Mary on the places stated by Her. Have you known up until now where are those five churches located? First, on the 2nd of March 1858 at Lourdes in France, Mother Mary appeared to a girl named Bernadette and requested to build a church in the place where the apparition occurred. Second, on the 3rd of October 1917 at Fatima in Portugal Mother Mary appeared to three children; Francisco, Lucy, Jacinta and proclaimed “It is my desire to see a chapel built here in my honor”. Third, on the 29th of November 1932 at Beauraing in Belgium Mother Mary appeared to five children; Fernande, Gilberte Voisin, Andrée, Gilberte Degeimbre, and Albert Voisin. She made a request to build a sacred, divine chapel in a serene environment. Fourth, on the 20th of January 1933 at Banneux in Belgium appeared to a girl named Mariette Beco and uttered: “I prefer a small church”. Now, this is on the fifth church in the world built on the request of Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the Shrine we all address as the Apparition Church built at Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine in Sri Lanka. On the 11th of May 1976, at Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine in Sri Lanka, Mother Mary appeared to His Holiness the Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso and stated “My Dearest Child, erect a Tiny Church in this place and dedicate it to My Name. It is my noble desire”.
After hearing this message, His Holiness the Apostle, made Mother Mary’s desire as His Holiness the Apostle’s desire. Quickly He started to convert His house where He has grew up since His birth, which was given by His parents to a Shrine. His Holiness the Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso built the Shrine with His personal wealth. As a result, on the 6th of December 1976 morning, Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine was blessed by the holy hands of His Holiness the Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso, proclaiming Mother Mary as “Our Lady of Katunayake”, and golden crowned the Mother Mary Statue with His own holy hands.
After Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine was reconstructed again with many components which should be included in a Shrine by the own expense of His Holiness the Apostle and was opened on the 8th of October 1995 by His holy hands. Then again on the 5th of September 2011, the massive development process of renovating all the buildings at After Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine including the Apparition Church was set in motion. The leader of this massive development project was Mr. Manoj Chinthaka, the Director of Apostolic Media. As a result of the great battle done through utilizing his five years computer knowledge and intelligence, this time by acquiring Mother Mary’s desire as his, the new Apparition Church was built. It’s was blessed by the sacred hands of His Holiness the Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso on 11th of August 2018. The Apparition Church was opened by His own sacred hands.
Offering the new Apparition Church to Blessed Virgin Mary, His Holiness the Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso addressing Mother Mary uttered a special statement in front of the Apparition Church. As the wish of His Holiness the Apostle proclaimed, “I wish your Shrine to become a catechism school that spreads true doctrine to the whole world”. Further addressing Mother Mary He stated as follows. “Many descriptors describe, what your son really taught the world in various ways. Due to that, there are many Christian churches. It is a doubt whether even our Lord knows the number of Christian churches born across the world. Many of those have forgotten that heaven can be only achieved by those who listen to your Son’s word and live accordingly, not who live as gang teams. Among these, there are hymns and songs addressing your son as Jesus come again to this world, preach again to us. As an Apostle, it is my responsibility to reveal the truth to all of them. Your most tremendous desire is to see humans living according to the way your son taught. Therefore, I wish this Shrine of yours to become a catechism school that spreads true doctrine to the entire world”, Expressed His Holiness the Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso amidst a massive audience.
For this grand feast, an immense population has arrived from all four directions. The people were assembled in the Negombo – Colombo road in front of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine. Even the road was blocked unexpectedly and the police officers had to adopt additional measures to allow vehicles to travel from at least one side of the road. People who assembled not only inside the shrine grounds but also spread across a couple of kilometers on the road attended this historical sacred moment with uttermost devotion.
These images shows the massive river of people assembled across Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine as well as across a couple of kilometers on the road closing the Negombo – Colombo road to attend the occasion of offering the new Apparition Church granting the request of Blessed Virgin Mary, His Holiness the Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso issuing a statement addressing Mother Mary in the presence of the gathered devotees