“I solemnized your marriage and joined together both of you at this place with these very hands 26 years ago. I am personally happy about it. Today, after 26 years, I conduct your 26th anniversary Holy Mass. Just think a little about it. This is an extraordinary consequence of destiny. I am completing my 63rd year of my life now. Then at what age did I solemnize your marriage? Deduct 26 from 63. 26 deducted from 63. I solemnized your marriage when I was 37 years old. I am celebrating your 26th anniversary when I am 63 years old. I’ll celebrate 45 year of My Apostleship in another two weeks. Just think about these figures. In an Apostolic life of 45 years, both of you, who were married by me, celebrating 26th year of your married life. Then, how many things do both of you know about me? Both of you, who were married 26 years ago, have returned to me to celebrate 26th anniversary of your married life. Is it wrong if I say both of you are two beacons that enlightens My Apostleship? It is precisely correct. Then, how many things do both of you know about my life story? Mr. Venerius’s eyes filled with tears. He may have remembered past stories. He may have remembered the path of my life which I have travelled.”
His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso made this statement during the course of His Homily, which He reflected at the Holy Eucharist Celebration conducted in the Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine on 25th January, 2020. The Holy Eucharist Celebration was conducted on behalf of Mr. Venerius Fernando and Mrs. Selvin Fernando of Munnakkara, Negombo on completion of 26 years of their married life.
Holy Apostle further spoke about a specific incident which occurred 25 to 30 years ago while He was delivering a Homily for which He was invited at a Buddhist temple in Welimada. This is how His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso explained it.
“About 25 to 30 years ago, that is, during the period when both of you got married, the Chief Incumbent of a Buddhist temple in Welimada area invited me to visit that temple and deliver a Homily. The Chief Incumbent of Welimada temple made that invitation through another Buddhist monk well known to me. I accepted that invitation. I visited that temple after accepting that invitation to deliver the Homily. Thousands of people had gathered at that time as it was an amazing occasion for them. 25 years ago, the hall of this temple, I mean, the preaching hall was packed to capacity with people. There were people outside the hall too. Public address systems had been installed because the event had received wide publicity. As such, the Chief Incumbent had thought there would be mammoth crowds. That is why the public address systems had been installed. A considerable number of Buddhist monks too had arrived from other temples. There were people older than me and people younger than me as well. Various levels of people were there. Then, all those were expecting to know what I would say. There are many things to tell you about it. But, at this occasion, when a 26th anniversary of a wedding is being celebrated I have something to say from that event.”
“I delivered my Homily for more than two hours. At the end of my Homily, I told the people present there, to raise any questions if they have. It took a little time. Afterwards, one by one stood up and raised various questions. Even the Buddhist monks raised questions. I had to spend about two hours to answer those questions. Nearly four hours had passed now. Those who had gathered outside came in and raised questions. There were questions of high standard. When there were hardly any questions to ask from me, I told the people who were present, that they had so far asked questions from me and allow me to raise a question to them. Those who were present kept looking at me surprisingly. The way I said it made some Buddhist monks laugh. Now is the time for me to raise my question. This was the question I asked them. “Among you, there may be many who have got married. Considering the vast gathering here, there must be many who have got married. Out of those who are married, who wished to have the same husband and the same wife in their next birth? That means when you are born again?” Some looked at the left side and some looked right side. Some others looked back every now and then. I asked them to raise their hand if there is anyone who wished to have the same husband or the same wife in their next birth. No one raised their hand. After that, a Buddhist monk who was present there, got up and asked, “Did you all understand the question raised by this Apostolic Father?” The Buddhist monk once again explained my question to them, “This is what He asked, Raise your hand if you wish.” It didn’t work. No one raised their hand. Then, I asked, out of those who are married, to raise their hand, who did not wish to have the same husband or the same wife in their next birth. There were none. No one raised hand to show whether they wish or whether they do not wish. After that, I asked, out of those who were married to raise hand if they do not want a married life again. No one raised hand even to that. Afterwards, another Buddhist Monk got up and explained all the three questions to the people once again. There wasn’t any response to that too. Then, I said, No one wishes to have the present husband or the present wife. Yet, they wish to have the present husband or the present wife in their future birth. There was no response to the question whether they wish to have a married life.”
“Then an elderly woman got up. I was little bit scared not knowing whether she wanted to scold me. She said, ‘Rev, Father, I certainly understood your question. I don’t wish to have my husband again. I don’t want him again. Then, I asked her how long they had been married. She pondered for a little while and said, ‘It must have been about forty years.’ I asked her whether they had been separated. Then, she said, ‘Both of us live under the same roof. I perform my duties even today. I cook his meals and look after him when he falls ill. I do all these. In spite of all that, I don’t want him. I wish every night not to meet him in any of my future births.’ answered that elderly woman. At the same time, there was another man who stood up from the other side and said, ‘Rev. Father, I am her husband. That’s my wish too. I don’t say so just because she said so. I never wish even to see her again. We live in the same house minding our own business. I perform all my duties. I bring all that is necessary for the household like food and drink, vegetables and fruits. We live like that without causing any shame to our children. Nobody else knows this. Even the Buddhist monk at the temple does not know this. I thought of saying this because of your Homily and the questions asked.’ Then, I asked him when they had got married. That wife, that elderly woman, who was standing answered that question. ‘Rev. Father, I can’t remember the date and there’s no point in remembering it either.”
The couple, Venerius and Selvin entered their married life at the old Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine on 27th January, 1994. On that day, the Wedding Mass was officiated by His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso and the Thanksgiving Holy Mass was celebrated on 25th January, 2020, commemorating the completion of 26 years of their married life. It was indeed a remarkable occasion that the Thanksgiving Holy Mass was also celebrated by the Holy Apostle Himself, after celebrating their wedding Mass 26 years ago.
Continuing His Homily at the Holy Mass, His Holiness The Apostle further stated the following by addressing the couple.
“Venerius and Selvin, dear children, there are many lives just like this. There are so many such couples in this world. I know if I ask this question even here, I’ll get answers equal to the answers given by those two elderly couple. I know it very well. I believe it beyond a shadow of doubt. I know it quite well. Some of your minds do speak now. Marriage means a strange thing.”
These images show Mr. Venerius Fernando and Mrs. Selvin Fernando of Munnakkara, Negombo along with their three children smiling at times and shedding tears at another, to the Homily of the Thanksgiving Holy Mass, officiated by His Holiness The Apostle Rohan Lalith Aponso, on 25th January 2020, at the Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine, commemorating 26th anniversary of their married life