A youth who came in front of His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso recently in the Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine, made a remarkable speech in the presence of pilgrims who had arrived from different parts of the island.
The Rosary Vespers was offered to Blessed Mother in the evening of Saturday 21st September 2019 because of the wonderful miracle She performed in front of thousands of people on Saturday evening 27th July 2019. Holy Virgin Mother Mary performed a most wonderful thing in front of the eyes of the devotees who gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Katunayake to take part in the Miraculous Prayer Recite in the evening on that day. The Holy Virgin Mary made Her appearance in person for Twenty Three times in the Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine. By making Her live presence, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary emanated Jasmine aroma from Her Statue, established in the Apparition Church for a number of hours continuously, thus making all devotees to sense that sweet fragrance. It was a most significant incident that this miraculous Jasmine aroma was spread, not only in the Apparition Church but also to the Apparition Ground and to the Holy Apostles’ Peter and Paul garden as well. Without stopping there, this Jasmine aroma spread to either side of the main road in front of the Shrine for a distance of about hundred meters.
Reciting of Holy Rosary was conducted in order to thank Blessed Virgin Mother, the Our Lady of Katunayake who performed such a glorious Miracle. His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso, who had the good fortune and the rare and significant opportunity of seeing Blessed Virgin Mary for Twenty Three Times, officiated the Rosary Vespers. It was an extremely happy occasion for the devotees and the reciting of Rosary was conducted in front of the Statue of Blessed Mother of God, which was spreading Jasmine aroma on 27th July, which is established above the main altar of the Apparition Church.
After reciting Holy Rosary, the Holy Apostle reflected His Homily and at the end of the Homily, the young man, Praveen Shanaka Perera of Ja-Ela came in front of His Holiness. He is a sociable young man and a civil engineer by profession. The speech he made in front of the Holy Apostle and the people present there, was a huge lesson to the whole society. It was with deep sorrow he revealed various activities that he had done against the Holy Apostle through the facebook social media.
Mr. Praveen Shanaka stated that two years before, for a long period he had slung mud at His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso by spreading various false stories and to do that he said, he was actually enticed by a certain group of people.
Mr. Praveen Shanaka made a clear description about the abuse of social media taking place today and he further expressed that it had afforded a good opportunity for hypocrites to defame and disgrace extremely virtuous people without any evidence and to socialize completely false stories hiding the fact. He said particularly, it is extremely dangerous for the people who live in an Asian country like Sri Lanka to have such a good opportunity and he publicly expressed that he himself was such a hypocrite who had engaged in this activity.
It was seen that the people who had gathered there kept listening to young Praveen Shanaka in rapt silence and he further stated the following in front of His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso.
“Today, most of the people use the facebook social media to defame and disgrace people who are virtuous. I myself did the same thing. But I didn’t do so to every virtuous person. I did it only to one single virtuous person. That virtuous person is in front of us. He is none other than His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso. I did all that with the thought of defaming Him. I did that without knowing the truth. I peeled Him to the core using the facebook social media. What didn’t I say about Him? I was elated when I saw people laughing at Him by seeing my posts. People are usually glad to see the mean and dirty taste. I turned all kinds of Holy Apostle’s good deeds into other way around and gave them publicity through facebook. Today, I directed all kinds of defamations against the Holy Apostle just as the enemies of Jesus Christ acted against Him in the past. I am glad to have the opportunity to declare my sin in public in the presence of the Holy Apostle at the precise place where Virgin Mary made Her appearance in person for 23 times and where the 14th Apostle of Jesus Christ, who was chosen to the world by Christ Himself by making His appearance in person. But I committed a huge sin. This sin cannot be regarded as a trifling matter. Defaming a Holy Apostle is a sin which cannot get forgiveness. But, my heart forced me to accept my sin in public. That’s why I came forward in this manner. Now, there is a large crowd of people here who love the Holy Apostle. All of you would have seen the defamatory posts and distorted photos of this Holy Apostle which I published in the facebook. I request you to listen to my story without getting excited. I didn’t do those things alone. I did that together with few others. There is a group who directed us to write a post in this manner, keep a blog in this manner, and distort photos in this manner. In fact, I am ashamed of them. They are the people who pose as very good persons and guiding forces of the society”.
“I defamed the Holy Apostle as well as Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine through the social media. I became a part of that sin. I express all these things with the thought of alleviating the hatred and sorrow I have towards my own self. I am spending my life by knowing God will punish me for this sin in one of my future lives. I can still remember the first day I saw this Holy Apostle who was at the receiving end of my disgraceful defamations.
Young Praveen Shanaka who was emotional on this occasion, while describing the power of the Holy Apostle, made a vain effort to stifle his tears. He fell on his knees in front of His Holiness and kissed His feet shedding tears and wetting the eyes of all those who were present. It was with true fatherly affection that the Holy Apostle stroked his head.
Young Civil Engineer, Praveen Shanaka once again started to speak taking the microphone in his hand and he said thus.
“I can’t help feeling that His Holiness loves me more than any other devotee when His Holiness spoke to me in a lovable manner and helped me whenever I became helpless, even though I did so much to defame Him. Those who are here do not know when I was extremely helpless; the Holy Apostle greatly helped me. That help had an effect, not only on me, but on my whole family as well. I cannot imagine even how He could extend His love so much to such a sinner like me who defamed Him so much. I feel ashamed of my own self when I see the way the Holy Apostle is helping me, whom I had defamed so much without any evidence, and by listening to false rumours.”
Everyone was surprised to know the way Mr. Praveen Shanaka found facts for his posts and blogs that were created to defame His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso. He revealed how he took steps to direct various defamatory posts against His Holiness by providing such facts to others also.
Mr. Praveen Shanaka said he and his clique had found true facts to direct baseless allegations against the Holy Apostle and to completely distort the facts to defame Him by listening to the stories of his own brother who had been on his own will, taking part only in Liturgical Celebrations conducted by His Holiness for the last 15 years and had been guiding his life only by listening His Holiness’s Homilies. This disclosure of Mr. Praveen Shanaka surprised his own brother who was at that time listening to his speech. He further disclosed that his own brother, who had been attending Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine for the last 15 years used to brief about the Shrine at their home and when he himself becomes aware of such details of the Shrine, what he did was to deride such details and secretly distort the true facts to raise rumors in the society and releasing them to the social media through facebook and making the people aware who had grouped themselves in order to defame Holy Apostle and Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine. Moreover, Mr. Praveen Shanaka said he was still contrite about the people who had been misguided by him and he was in a sorrowful quandary as to how he should tell them the truth.
Describing his improper act in detail, Mr. Praveen Shanaka thus revealed another remarkable incident. A woman who had been childless even after number of years of marriage, became a mother of a small child after taking part in the Miraculous Prayer Recite usually held once a week on Saturday evenings at Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine. The mother of this woman, who had seen a post with a false story in the facebook social media about Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine, had forced her daughter, the mother of the small child not to attend Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine and thereby she was stopped attending Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine by her mother. Nevertheless, Mr. Praveen Shanaka said it is most sad that this false facebook post was actually created by him. He further said that the people involved here were the people known to him and how many such unknown people who had believed his mudslinging publicity would have been misled. He further said when he think about it, it is certain that he would definitely have to face repercussion for this heinous crime one day. However he said, the woman who had forgotten the solace she had received, would also have to face repercussion for her hypocrisy too.
Mr. Praveen Shanaka further awaking his sorrowful voice said, “I degraded and defamed this Holy Apostle His Holiness Rohan Lalith Aponso and Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine enormously. But I myself thought of verifying the wonderful stories spoken with others at home by my elder brother who has been a devotee of the Holy Apostle for 15 years and attending Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine on week days too notwithstanding the time. I myself thought to find out the truth and falseness of the wonderful stories which my elder brother comes and relates at home. If all that had been told by my elder brother is true; my inner self told me that I am committing a crime. As such, I came in search of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine. It was a wonderful day. On that day, His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso walked into the midst of the devotees and blessed them. I joined the queue leading to Him. My turn came. When I walked towards Him, He stretched out both His hands with a smiling face as if He had been anticipating me. A wonderful thing happened to me at that time. It was as if the moment when Jesus Christ appeared in front of Saul. Jesus Christ appeared in front of Saul who had been defaming and disgracing Christ and murdering Christians. A change came over Saul as soon as he saw the face of Jesus Christ. He realized the truth. He changed not only His life but His name as well. Saul became Paul. The same happened to me too.”
Addressing devotees from the Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine, Mr. Praveen Shanaka said in front of His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso that he constantly remembered the biography of Holy Apostle Paul and His life turned in an inverted manner from the moment He heard the voice of Jesus Christ even though He hated Christians.
Mr. Praveen Shanaka finally said he himself arriving at Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine, seeking the truth and meeting His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso became a turning point in his life.
These photos herein show Civil Engineer Mr. Praveen Shanaka Perera, who slung mud at His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso and peeled His good name through facebook social media, admitted his heinous crime publicly, and pleaded forgiveness from His Holiness by weeping at His feet, and making a speech in front of the vast gathering of people, assembled in the Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine and in the Shrine Ground, and revealing all those who enticed him to defame and disgrace His Holiness through facebook social media thereby, resulting him to commit this heinous crime