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St. Joseph's College Colombo 125th Anniversary

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St. Joseph’s College Colombo 125th Anniversary

Posted on 07 March 2021 by admin

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE COLOMBO (1896-2021)
‘FRUITS OF VIRTUE AND KNOWLEDGE’

St. Joseph’s College Colombo has reached a milestone as it celebrates its Quasquicentennial or 125th Anniversary on 2nd March 2021. St. Joseph’s College Colombo was founded as a seat of learning on 2nd March 1896.On the 12th December 1894 the foundation stone was laid by the papal delegate for Asia Rev. Msgr. Zalesbbi. On the 2nd March 1896, St. Joseph’s College Colombo was declared open with 211 students in the school proper and 96 students in the preparatory school with Very Rev. Fr. Charles Collin as the First Rector.The Josephian-Peterite NEWS NETWORK (JPNN) wishes a Happy Anniversary to Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, Rector, his dedicated teaching staff and all students who walked through the hallowed hallways of St. Joseph’s College Colombo.

St. Joseph’s College Colombo is celebrating a milestone. A seat of learning since 1896, the renowned educational institution at Darley Road, Colombo 10, will be 125 years on 02 March 2021.

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Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin - Tribute to a beloved rector

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Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin – Tribute to a beloved rector

Posted on 08 December 2020 by admin

Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin

Tribute to a beloved rector

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Daily News.

Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin was appointed to St. Peter’s College five years ago. I knew him at All Saints Church as an Assistant Parish Priest. From there, he was appointed Parish Priest of Koralawella, Moratuwa. He later joined the staff of St. Joseph’s College, where I was the Vice-Rector.

I noticed in him the characteristics of a good administrator as he was looking after the Middle School. He came and asked me how to go about the discipline of the students and I advised him to punish one boy at the beginning of the year; that it would keep the rest of the boys well-disciplined right through the year. Whatever way we punish, we should do it out of love for the students.

Start of his career

I was transferred from St. Joseph’s College and appointed Rector of the Aquinas College of Higher Studies in Colombo 8, where I spent seventeen long years. Then again, Rev. Fr. Trevor G. Martin came for further studies to Aquinas College and completed his studies to obtain a B.A. degree from the Peradeniya University. Thereafter, I suggested him to get permission for Higher Studies in London from the then Archbishop and we worked out the process. He was successful in gaining admission to the University of London, where he did a Master’s Degree in Education.On completion of his studies in London, he returned to the island and was appointed Rector of St. Loyola College, Negombo. Over there, he proved himself to be a progressive Educationist and a great builder by raising the standards of studies and putting up the necessary infrastructure for a conducive environment for the integral formation and education of students.

I would say that he mobilised all his friends at St. Joseph’s College to lend him a hand to put up several impressive buildings and a well-equipped swimming pool. After fourteen years of yeoman service, he was transferred to St. Peter’s College. At Loyola College, he could be considered as a catalyst of wealth distribution to the periphery.

At St. Peter’s College

Before his arrival at St. Peter’s College, his impressive image and profile as a strict disciplinarian and administrator had already reached St. Peter’s College. The incoming Rector was the subject of discussion mostly among the teachers. From day one, he was seen in front of the chapel to observe the flow of students and teachers to school in the morning.

This made the students and the teachers to be punctual. He went round the classes and barge in wherever there was no teacher. This conveyed the idea that the present rector was more a moving outgoing Rector than an office rector. His observations, as he went around, fired him with a few ideas as to the improvement of the infrastructure of the college.Rev. Fr. Trevor started by giving a facelift to his office, as well as those of the priests and the clerks. This was the beginning of a chain of buildings and innovations to St. Peter’s College. As he started the office renovations, he dreamt of having a suitable hall that could accommodate three hundred people. So he got the architects and engineers for a meeting and changed the whole foundation and came up with a plan for a three-storeyed building, finding space for a computer section in the first floor.

He realised his dream while working day and night. We could see him in the night, seated on a chair in the site and sleeping and probably dreaming of the next building. Before this building came up, all staff meetings and parents’ meetings were held in the Chapel. A hall of this nature was essential for St. Peter’s College. The Computer Section, too, needed modernisation with Interactive Smart Boards. Accordingly, with the support of the Old Boys, he brought about an improvement so as to keep in line with modern day demands.

Renovation projects

The second project was the refurbishing and modernisation the laboratories. The chemicals and apparatus were old and irrelevant and had to be discarded. This project was mostly funded by an Old Boy in the UK and a past batch of Old Boys in Sri Lanka. The stock of chemicals and apparatus were shipped by one of our loyal old Boys, Themiya de Mel, in whose presence the labs were opened.

The third project was the establishment of a fully-equipped medical centre by dismantling the then existing medical center and relocating it in a more conducive and convenient place. During these projects; there were, I would say; other secondary projects that were going on. The refurbishing of the male and female staff rooms, as well as the provision of new cupboards and furniture, were also carried out, expressing the Rector’s concern for the teachers. He installed air-conditioners for all the staff rooms, both in the College section and the Primary section.The Rector planned out a pavilion project. He also gave two other priests to plan out another chapel. We had with us these two plans and it was a question of which should be the first. After discussing with the priests and some Old Boys, a decision was made to go ahead with the pavilion. It was a massive project and it was only a man like Rev. Fr. Trevor who could take up the challenge. He spent days and nights at the site, encouraging the workers, engineers, and architects to make sure that it would be ready for the opening by Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

The other project was the Chapel Project; to put up a spacious Chapel at the centre of the buildings where the portico exists. Last week, when I was having a chat with the Rev. Fr., he told me that if he had one more year, he would have seen to the completion of that project, too. He had been dreaming as to how he could make St. Peter’s College a unique Institution. The latest dream was to have a solar power system so that we could cut down the electricity bill.

In spite of all the building activities, Rev. Fr. Trevor focused on providing an integral education to the students. Thus, we had regular meetings to plan out the academic training of students. Sometimes, he fished for good teachers elsewhere and had the courage to replace some teachers who were inefficient. He followed up the teachers to see how ‘many real good class hours a teacher was putting in so as to cover the syllabus. He did not fail to pull up teachers who were not teaching properly.

Rev. Fr. Trevor and sports

Rev. Fr. Trevor often talks about him playing hockey and some cricket at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena. He also enhanced his sportsmanship by being the Prefect of Games at St. Joseph’s College. All these experiences contributed to his commitment and dedication to sports at St. Peter’s College. He would encourage the coaches and the students to do their best in sports. He had committees appointed to oversee the progress of each sport and never failed to take necessary action when targets were not attained. He never missed any matches of any sport. He was a lover of sports and wanted to see the college doing well in every sport. Under his leadership, the college achieved great heights in almost every sport. Peterites should appreciate the encouragement and motivation that he gave.

When Rev. Fr. Trevor is bitten by a project bug, he never fails to rest until he has turned every stone to realise that project. Thus, he would also reach out to the Old Boys for help and motivate the parents to lend a hand, whatever way possible to realise his dream. His PR is such that many Old Boys would respond positively to his requests. He also made it a point to reach out to the Old Boy Peterite Unions across the globe to muster their support, which, I think, no other Rector has done in this manner.

Rev. Fr. Trevor: a priest and friend

Whatever we do, if we fail to project our priestly image, we are failures. As priests, we are not without shortcomings. Jesus himself knew our weak human nature and that is why he said that we should be ready to forgive our brothers who do wrong to us; not only seven times, but seventy times seven. We are also called upon to wipe the feet of our subjects and be of humble service to them. To do all these, it is important for us to be animated and encouraged by the life of Christ. Christ is the vine and we are the branches. So, if we are to produce results according to the mind of Christ, we have to be united with him.

Rev. Fr. Trevor believed in this and he often expressed his gratitude to God and Mother Mary in all the assemblies and tried to inculcate this kind of spiritual attitude even among the students. For him, the Eucharist was quite central to his life and it was what pushed him to dedicate himself to the service of St. Peter’s College.I noticed Rev. Fr. Trevor as a friend in need and a friend indeed. During my acquaintance with him, I found him to be always obliging and generous. For the fiftieth jubilee of my priestly ordination, he showed great concern to do it in an impressive manner and, going out of his way, he made it a special occasion for me. But it was not only for me; all the birthdays of priests in the community were celebrated by getting other priests to join the celebrations. In various ways, he tried to build a happy community and to see to the comfort and convenience of the priests.

Let me express our deepest gratitude for what you have been to the Priestly Community. I thank God for the gift of Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin to St. Peter’s College and the church. Our wish for him is that wherever God places him, let him always be true to his priesthood, and to the service of God’s people.

Ad Multos Annos in an ambience of Virtus et Veritas.

Rev. Dr. W.D.G. Chrispin Leo
Emeritus Rector,
Aquinas College of Higher Studies

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Fife and Drum Band of St. Peter's College & Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando - Rector (1956 - 1963)

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Fife and Drum Band of St. Peter’s College & Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando – Rector (1956 – 1963)

Posted on 25 September 2020 by admin

Fife and Drum Band of St. Peter’s College & Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando – Rector, SPC (1956 – 1963)

Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando

Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, and by this time the education system was firmly in place thanks to British-Ceylon influence during the period 1815 – 1948. The first school established by the British in Sri Lanka was 'The Galle School', now known as Richmond College, in Galle.

BY: UPALI OBEYESEKERE – EDITOR, JPNN

Archived history tells us that St. Joseph's College, Colombo was established in 1896 and will be celebrating its 125th or Quasquicentennial Anniversary in 2021.

St. Peter's College, Colombo was established in 1922 and will be celebrating its centenary year in 2022. From 1922-1926, the founder Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc overlooked the administrative and operational functions of St. Joseph's College (South), later renamed as St. Peter's College.

Technically, the first Rector of St. Peter's College was Rev. Fr. Nicholas Perera who provided stewardship from 1927 – 1942. During this period, Fr. Nicholas initiated a few important matters in sports and also spearheaded the formation of the St. Peter's College Old Boys' Union in 1927. Norman Paternott was named the first cricket captain of St. Peter's College in 1927, and the rich legacy he left behind has been carried by his three sons Aubrey, Rodney and Hamish who excelled in both cricket and rugby.

A lot of cricket was not played between schools at this time. Historical records claim that only friendly games were played until the "Battle of the Saints" or the Josephian-Peterite series was launched in 1933. George Jayaweera was named to captain his alma mater in the inaugural "Battle of the Saints" series. A great honour that remains etched in the annals of history with this memorable series. Once again, George Jayaweera's legacy was honourably carried later by his three sons Tissa, Shanthi and Ruwan (Captain – 1974), who played cricket for college.

Rev. Fr. Basil Wiratunga took over as Rector, SPC from 1943 – 1955. By this time St. Peter's College had built formidable cricket and rugby teams. The highest individual score of 204 not out by Clive Inman in 1954 in the "Big Match" still stands as a record unbroken for 66 long years.

 Then came the dynamic years of Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando who served as Rector from 1956 – 1963. He was the 3rd Rector of St. Peter's College, and will be remembered for the encouragement and support he gave to the development of Aesthetic Studies. Fr. Arthur is credited for starting the island's first schools' Fife and Drum Band on June 30th 1956. The band led by debonair Dodwell de Silva was the cynosure of all eyes and the "Peterite Brand" was further enhanced by this new initiative. Our boys looked very smart attired in white and we were all proud of the "Fife & Drum Band".

A Cultural Centre to promote Music, Drama, Dancing and Art was started in November 1956 with the help of Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weerakkody and Rev. Fr. Marcelline Jayakody. Kandyan Dancing, Oriental Singing and the formation of Western and Oriental Orchestras came about. St. Peter's College also staged "Trial by Jury" under the direction of Douglas Ferdinands during Fr. Arthur's tenure as rector. Sandy Reimers and Nihal Fonseka played major roles in this super production.

The fantastic Carnival of Carnivals held at St. Peter’s College in 1961, the ‘Fun-O-Rama’ was Fr. Arthur's brainchild. The carnival offered numerous features that in post-independence era, a first in the island. These features included Close Circuit TV, Fountains with coloured underwater lights, a model train exhibition, variety entertainment in the College Hall (which was seen outside through CCTV), etc.

International entertainers Tony Brent and "Blue Diamonds" performed at St. Peter's College Hall during Fr. Arthur's tenure of service as Rector.

It was Fr. Arthur who first had to manage the direct impact of the Schools take over from December 1st 1960 when St. Peter’s decided to remain as a Private Non Fee Levying institution. The Welfare Society came into being under his astute leadership. A superb organizer and administrator, he installed a modern Canteen to supplement the much needed finances. He also set up the College Boarding.

Fr. Arthur was a visionary and took the school to the next level in many spheres. His seven years as Rector seemed like a memory but there was so much activity that was all credited to his able leadership.

May he rest in peace!

Editor's Note:

Yours truly started his high school studies at St. Peter's College in 1956 in the Prelim A, the same year Fr. Arthur Fernando became Rector .I was booked to enter my father's alma mater St. Joseph's College but plans changed as my father and Fr. Arthur were schoolmates/good friends and the former asked that I enrol at SPC where he was going as Rector. I remain blessed. Rest is history!

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Peterite Sports Complex to be declared open on Friday, February 1

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Peterite Sports Complex to be declared open on Friday, February 1

Posted on 27 January 2019 by admin

Dream come true! This was Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin's pet project. It took less than two years for the project to be completed from 2017 – 2019. The new Sports Complex will be declared open on Friday, February 1, 2019, by the newly appointed Minister of Sports Harin Fernando. Minister Fernando is an old boy of St. Joseph's College. Congratulations to Fr. Trevor for stick handling the project from concept stage to execution.

The Josephian-Peterite Alumni Association of Canada – JPAA Canada made a significant contribution in 2017 towards the Sports Complex project. 

 

By: Dhammika Ratnaweera – Courtesy: Sunday Observer.

 

 

 

An artist’s impression – Peterite Sports Complex 

St. Peter’s College will turn a new leaf in the rich annals of its sporting tradition when they declare open their new Pavilion at Bambalapitiya on February 1 with the blessings of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith the Archbishop of Colombo who will grace the occasion as chief guest.

Fr Trevor Martin, the Rector of St Peter’s College has been the main architect behind several developments at the school and the pavilion will be named in memory of former rector Fr Joe Wickramasinghe who served the Peterites with distinction from 1978 to 1994. “Fr Joe Wickremasinghe saw the necessity for students to reach greater heights in studies, sports and discipline. The Peterites led the way in cricket, rugby, tennis, basketball, hockey, football and athletics and Fr. Joe played a big part in this,” said Fr Martin. Besides being the rector of one of the leading Catholic schools in the country, Fr. Joe also initially laid the base for everything through spiritual values with prayer being a central part of the students.

“This pavilion is one of the best tributes we can pay Fr. Joe Wickremasinghe,” declared Fr. Martin.

The construction of the pavilion took a lesser amount of time to build than planned and was completed within a period of eight months through the efforts of old boys, parents and well-wishers at a cost of Rs. 185 million. Some of the funds poured in from Europe, the USA, Canada and the Middle East courtesy of fundraising of the school.through

The new building will not only cater to the present boys, but will also provide accommodation and welfare to visiting sports teams from outstation schools.

It will also be complete with sleeping quarters, washrooms, gymnasium, conference room, manager’s room, office room, indoor nets, spectator accommodation and VIP boxes.

“What we had in mind was the comfort of every sportsman and spectator who visits St. Peter’s College for sports events, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby,” said Fr. Martin.

A 400-meter track for athletes is also a feature connected to the commissioning of the new pavilion. St. Peter’s College also has basketball and tennis courts. The school will open its sporting doors for any other school that is in need of a ground and facilities, according to Fr. Martin.

“We want other schools also to benefit from this whole concept. It is a very worthy cause and investment,” he said.

One of the spectator stands will be named in memory of rugby legend and Sri Lanka player Archibald Pereira.

“There is no one who does not know Archibald Pereira and he was a household name and his services have to be appreciated,” said Fr. Martin.

Sports Minister Harin Fernando, a product of St. Joseph’s College will grace the occasion as the Guest of Honour– along with distinguished old boys and heads of other schools as well as Sri Lanka rugby officials. According to Fr. Martin the school has plans to internationalize the venue.

End of News Item that appeared in the Sunday Observer of Jan. 27, 2019.

 




Editor's Note: A significant contribution was made in August 2017 by the Josephian-Peterite Alumni Association of Canada – (JPAA Canada) towards the proposed Sports Complex/Rugby Pavilion. It is good to read in the Sunday Observer that the sports complex is scheduled to be declared open on February 1, 2019. All Josephians and who were associated with JPAA Canada (1984-2017) should be proud that we made a generous donation from Canada to Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin for this project.

We hope Fr. Trevor will  the arrangement we had with him to have a plaque installed with the words "JPAA CANADA 1984-2017". Thank you.

Relevant News Release is displayed below.

JPAA NEWS RELEASE 2017

 

 

 

 

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His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando : Illustrious Son of 'Little Rome'

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His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando : Illustrious Son of ‘Little Rome’

Posted on 05 December 2018 by admin

His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando :

Illustrious Son of ‘Little Rome’

Courtesy: Daily News.

‘He inspired me and I started to grow…’:

Rev. Fr. Nicholas Marcus Fernando

Four score and six is a glorious inning in these cricketing days. One wonders how it feels to be 86 years of age in this twenty-first century for a colossus of the Catholic Church. Though ranked among the ‘80 Club’ and bestowed with ‘Emeritus’ status, His Grace Archbishop Most Rev. Dr. Nicholas Marcus Fernando was at the helm of Sri Lanka’s flock as the Chief Shepherd for well nigh 25 years.

Little has changed in that familiar exterior at ‘Emmaus’ in Tewatte where he spends his retirement in the environs of the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka. Archbishop Fernando, as he is still affectionately referred to, does not look a day older than when he opted to call it a day at 69 – 17 years ago. He is very relaxed and fit, but prefers to respect ‘old age’ and to be identified as a ‘senior citizen’. In the annals of Christianity in Sri Lanka, he truly played a decisive role as the Chief Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Colombo, despite his comparatively young age of 44.

He was respected as a scholar, a man of integrity and a linguist of no mean repute. He was fluent in English, Sinhala and Tamil and had a command of many other languages as well. With constancy and care, Archbishop Fernando laboured along with the priests, religious lay catechists and the faithful during his tenure as the Chief Shepherd, not only for the effective promotion of evangelisation of the people but also for the provision of earthly needs of the flock and social progress of all classes.

Glimpses of a shepherd

I am truly blessed to have sailed the early years of my life on the course steered by Archbishop Fernando. We were born as parishioners of St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo; christened at St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo; educated at St. Mary’s College, Grand Street, Negombo and grew up in the confines of St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo.

The life-long reminiscences for a Maryite of that era could be the beautiful bronze statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary that occupied the niche of the Main Block of the College, the life-like statue of the founder, Rev. Fr. J. B. Vistarini that stands before the façade of the church, and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in the precincts of the church.

Rev. Vistarini was the Parish Priest of the majestic church and was considered a ‘living saint’. His last resting place is at the side altar where his grave is identified with his statue in repose. After his death, hundreds of sons of Negombo were named after him and he shall always remain in the hearts and minds as their first saint.

Reverting to the life of Archbishop Fernando, I was the Head Prefect at St. Mary’s College, Negombo, when the good news from the Holy See in Rome of his elevation reached the city of Negombo, well known as ‘Little Rome’. I vividly remember how the bells of the grand old church peeled and how the people of all walks of life in Negombo united to share the joy of producing the first son of the parish as the Archbishop of Colombo.

Ever since, I was privileged to associate with the then serving Archbishop of Colombo, all along my career as a Naval Officer. During my school days, he was my ‘hero’. In my youth, I preferred him to be my role model. As the years rolled by, he became my mentor and later spiritual director – a unique bond of friendship that has now flourished for 40 long years.

Year after year, I have never failed to wish His Grace on his Patronal Feast and Birthday and His Grace reciprocates as our birthdays fall on December 6 and 16. His Grace never fails to contact me whenever he reads anything I have penned, to congratulate, to inspire, and to motivate me. He has always been pleasant, unassuming and easy to talk to.

As I linger down memory lane, many nostalgic events of my association with him flash before my mind and I would like to share a few. His Grace installed me as the youngest President of the OBA of St. Mary’s College, Negombo. I was privileged to confer on His Grace the prestigious ‘Award of Excellence for the Old Maryite of the Century’.

Then, I was privileged to deliver the keynote speech at the book launch to mark the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Ordination and to lend a helping hand for him to settle down at ‘Emmaus’ in retirement. His Grace always reminds me of our unforgettable pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Vailankanni amidst a severe threat of floods.

His Grace kindly consented to preside at the first-ever Joint Christian Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving of the Sri Lanka Navy in 1991 and immensely helped me to conduct the service for 25 uninterrupted years amidst ups and downs. He was present at All Saints’ Church, Borella, to renew our wedding vows when Carmel and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

Birth and divine call

In the Register of Baptism at St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo, that boasts a legacy of 455 years, the name ‘Nicholas Marcus’ appears as the 115th entry in the year 1932. He was christened on December 13, in the presence of his beloved parents, Wilfred Severinus Fernando and Mary Lily Margaret Fernando, with Theophilus Fernando and Maria Harriet Fernando as God Parents.

He was born a week earlier on December 6 in the renowned fishing hamlet of Munnakkara. Incidentally, it was on their feast day and the church and the city are dedicated to St. Nicholas. Thus, his humble and pious parents who cherished the proper endowment of spiritual values to their children would have been encouraged to name him after St. Nicholas.

Archbishop Fernando is the second child in the family and he has seven siblings. According to the order of birth, they are Frank, Archbishop Nicholas Marcus, Benzy, Camillus, Victor, Beryl, Nicholas Alexis and Maureen. Archbishop Fernando had his primary education at the Roman Catholic Mixed School in Munnakkara.

Then, he entered the leading Catholic educational institution, St. Mary’s College, Grand Street, Negombo, where he was beckoned by God to His vineyard to enable him to fulfil his allotted vocation. The effusive showering of talents and the providential timing of his birth made young Nicholas Marcus more and more conscious of his obligations before God. These ideas and ideals which matured in him from childhood made him what he became.

Responding with devotion to the Divine call, he entered St. Aloysius Seminary, Borella, in 1945 and passed the SSC Examination with exemption from the London Matriculation in 1949, the London University Inter-Arts Examination in 1951, and the London University BA Examination in 1953, and entered St. Bernard’s Major Seminary in 1953 for his Philosophical studies.

In the seminary, he set his goals straight and charted the correct path. His perfection was to seek God’s will and fulfil it and as a result, glory and honour followed him – as the day follows the night. And the day dawned for young Nicholas Marcus to approach the altar.

Ordination and priesthood

He was sent to Collegio de Propaganda Fide in Rome in 1954 to pursue his studies and obtained Baccalaureate and Licentiate degrees in Philosophy from Urban University in Rome in 1955 and 1956 respectively, and a Baccalaureate in Theology in 1958. He was ordained a priest by His Eminence Cardinal Agagianian on December 20, 1959, in Rome. Later, he obtained his Licentiate in Theology as well from Urban University in 1960.

Fr. Nicholas Marcus returned to Sri Lanka and was appointed to the staff of St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya, in 1960. Later, he was appointed to the staff of St. Aloysius Seminary, Borella, in 1963 and was elevated as the Rector in 1965. In 1973, he was sent back to Rome to read for his Doctorate in Moral Theology which he achieved with a Summa cum Laude in 1976.

He was appointed to the staff of the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka in Kandy in 1976. With his elevation as the Archbishop of Colombo on March 30, 1977, by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, he became the youngest to be appointed to the office at the age of 44. He also became the first Diocesan Priest to be appointed an Archbishop.

Spiritual colossus

A scholar, preacher and spiritual colossus, Archbishop Fernando, during his 25 years as the Archbishop of Colombo from 1977 to 2002, expanded the Archdiocese in several directions. He was a spontaneous and compelling priest, whose interests gave him new strength and greater depth.

Archbishop Fernando welcomed Pope John Paul II to Sri Lanka on January 20, 1995, for a historic visit during which the Beatification of St. Joseph Vaz took place in Colombo. He celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Ordination at St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Colombo, on May 14, 2002.

It is indeed a rare blessing and a privilege for one to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Priestly Ordination and His Grace thought it fit to bestow the honour to the parish that nourished him and it was befittingly celebrated with pomp and pageantry and with the participation of all the bishops and hundreds of priests at the beautiful St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo, on December 20, 2009.

Archbishop Fernando is a man of utter simplicity, disarming humility and of patient holiness and piety. All along his long and distinguished religious duty spanning 59 eventful years, he endeared himself to the poor and the rich alike.

He continues to keep fit and fine and maintains a good rapport with his bishops, priests and friends, to their admiration. His entire life has been nothing short of miraculous. Archbishop Fernando was like the good and faithful servant in the parable – he was faithful in small matters, therefore, he was put in charge of great matters.

I will never forget or cease to appreciate the pivotal role he played in my life as my mentor. His grounding and counsel has stood me in good stead and given me strength to overcome many tribulations. My thoughts and prayers for him on this 86th birthday are God’s abundant blessings and good health to notch up a century.

Ad multos et faustissimos annos!

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St Peter's night beyond imagination, trapezes to the next level with Na Tree

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St Peter’s night beyond imagination, trapezes to the next level with Na Tree

Posted on 03 November 2018 by admin

Courtesy: Colombo Gazette:

A gala event showcasing the musical and thespian talents of primary level students of one of Sri Lanka’s premier boys’ schools St. Peter’s College, got underway at the open air stadium of the school recently. The creative talents of students were unleashed at this event,  that earned kudos of the large and involved crowds present.

Over 5000 audience members were treated to a smorgasbord of culinary delights by Na Tree Caterers, a trusted name in the food and beverage industry in this country.

“The innocence and guilelessness of childhood were celebrated. ‘Beyond Imagination 2018’ encapsulated, galvanized and enthralled the audience, and compelled them to recognize the limitless possibilities of childhood imagination. It definitely was a scintillating, exciting and a tantalizing experience transcending the immediate, engaging with the creative intellectual dynamism which is uniquely human. It created the possibility to go beyond human imagination, which in itself is a tangible experience of the transcendent,” said the Rector Principal of St. Peter’s College, Rev.Fr. Trevor Martin, assessing the event that was an amalgam of the students' talents, and Na Tree’s hospitality.

‘I congratulate St. Peter’s College for staging an event of this nature that brings out the innate talents and creative instincts of students. We are thrilled to sponsor this extravaganza. Students of this day and age are stressed out and often do not come by their nutritional needs as a result. Since nutrition is a key component in their intellectual development, Na Tree caterers are mindful of nutritional aspects, no matter what type of food is being prepared for consumption by students,’ said the CEO of Na Tree Caterers, Mr. Viran Perera.

No Tree caterers also provided hospitality to the media that covered this key event in the school calendar.

Na Tree caterers, 45-year veterans in the food and beverage industry, have earned a local and international reputation for providing quality, healthy food that’s free of artificial additives.

Na Tree which participates regularly in vital Social Responsibility projects hopes to organize some special events in the near future, focusing primarily on providing schoolchildren with a healthy and wholesome diet.

 

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Happy Easter 2018!

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Happy Easter 2018!

Posted on 01 April 2018 by admin

On Easter Sunday Christians world-wide celebrate the Glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the core-truth of their religious faith and spirituality. Jesus of Nazareth thus became an Eternal Galilean who will rule the world and human history till the end of time. The Crucified Nazarene, the carpenter’s son, the authoritative preacher, the healer of the sick and the possessed, the threat of the demons has vanquished the gloom of the grave and the darkness of that cave having emerged glorious in the brilliance of the Risen Life.

Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian church calendar in Canada. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion, according to Christian belief.Christians celebrate Easter on a Sunday as it was the day Jesus rose from the dead, following being crucified on a Friday two days before.

Centuries ago in 325, it was determined by a council of Christian bishops that Easter Day would always be on a Sunday to commemorate the happy occasion. 

Why does the date of Easter change each year?

While the dates for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are fixed, Easter can fall any time between March 22 and April 25

In Western Christianity, Easter Sunday must always fall on the next full moon after Spring Equinox.

Easter can fall as early as March and as late as April or May, depending on the year and calendar used.

Christians in the east who use the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar may have a different date.

The date of Easter changes because the full moon can fall on different days in different time zones.

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St. Joseph's College opens SKYRIM ARENA

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St. Joseph’s College opens SKYRIM ARENA

Posted on 28 March 2018 by admin

St. Joseph’s College, Colombo declared opened the ‘SkyRim Arena’, a new state-of-the-art sporting arena of the school’s 20 year old Indoor Sports Complex with the latest addition of brand new basketball and tennis courts, last Tuesday. Located on the banks of the Beira Lake, the new arena is a revamped, state-of-the-art version of the school’s 20 year old Indoor Sports Complex, with the latest addition of brand new basketball and tennis courts. Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure and former Josephian Harin Fernando was the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony.

The SkyRim Arena was proposed by the school’s Rector, Fr. Travis Gabriel and implemented by its Sports Council led by Chairman Brian Obeyesekere. It was built over a year’s period with generous support from the council, parents, staff, well-wishers, the mercantile sports sector and corporate donors. St. Joseph’s can lay claim to a rich sporting legacy handed down through generations of Josephians who have excelled at sports. Cricket, Swimming and Basketball in particular have been the school’s core strengths; the school has produced national level players in all three sports, including Sri Lanka’s favourite all-rounder and current cricket team captain Angelo Matthews.

Minister Fernando shared his thoughts on the new complex at the event, adding that he was pleased to see the school’s continued commitment to investing in its infrastructure and sporting talent. “St. Joseph’s has produced many great sportsmen over the decades, and I am confident that this will continue to be the case in years to come. I am so glad to be able to declare this open alongside those from the school who have worked day and night to make this a possibility. I look forward to seeing many more Josephians excel in their chosen sport,” he said.

The arena will serve as stamping ground for young Josephian sportsmen fulfilling their school’s rich legacy of sporting excellence. When the indoor complex was first launched in March 1996 it was equipped with Badminton, Volleyball and Netball courts, a gymnasium, and a Basketball court in addition to the existing squashing courts, practice grounds and boat house. Rev. Fr. Victor Silva envisioned his players having access to more facilities in order to reach their best potential and as such founded the Sports Council during his tenure as the Rector of the College.

“I have always believed in the power of sports to teach our students the soft-skills that they need to excel in life,” said Rev. Fr. Silva who was the guest of honour at the event. “With the launch of this revamped arena we hope to encourage more young Josephians to take up a sport of their choice. As you can see, they have several options to choose from.”The new additions improve on the existing facilities with the addition of two new courts for basketball and tennis appointed with the latest state of the art amenities. The Tennis court in particular has undergone a significant revamp with the old clay court replaced with a hard court, and the addition of an advanced system of floodlights.

The SkyRim arena will give equal prominence to all sports played by the school’s pupils, according to Fr. Rector Travis Gabriel. “Our aim is to produce well-rounded and educated young men who understand the importance of a healthy mind and body. This sports arena will be a place for all Josephians to find a sport that they enjoy, and learn to master it. We should be thankful to all our generous donors and partners for helping us to make this possible today,” he emphasised.
The name ‘SkyRim’ signifies the limitless possibilities, that young Josephians are encouraged to believe when it comes to excelling in their sport.

“It has truly been a privilege to watch our sports team grow over the years, and bring home many championship trophies,” stated Brian Obeyesekere. “We hope that these facilities will encourage them to develop those talents further and bring glory to the school, and to themselves.” Obeysekere also extended the invitation to the mercantile and corporate sectors, encouraging them to utilize the facilities in the arena to guide their employees towards a healthier lifestyle, and the sporting associations to make use of the facility for their sporting events. – COURTESY: SUNDAY TIMES 25JUNE2017.

 

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86th Prize Giving - St. Peter's College

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86th Prize Giving – St. Peter’s College

Posted on 21 February 2018 by admin

The 86th Prize Giving was held at St. Peter's yesterday (20th February 2018) with a distinguished Old Boy, Mr. Ashantha Timothy Andradi as the Chief Guest.

After the welcome ceremony Mr. Andradi, his wife Kirtida and son Kirshan were conducted by Fr. Rector, accompanied by distinguished Old Boy invitees, to light the traditional oil lamp. Once the distinguished guests had taken their seats on the stage, Fr. Rector officially welcomed the Chief Guest and read the Prize Day Report in which he emphasised on excellence and action taken by St. Peter's in pursuit of excellence, while also highlighting special achievements of some of the students as well as achievements by College in studies, sports and other extra and co-curricular activities.

In his address, the Chief Guest recalled his own memories of his student days at St. Peter's and the importance of the Prize Day. While congratulating the prize winners he also made it a point to thank the teachers who he emphasised were contributing immensely towards the development of the students.

After the conclusion of the speeches the distribution of prizes took place and at the conclusion of the Prize Giving, the Chief Guest and all the special invitees were treated to refreshments at the Sr. Flora Hall.

Departing from tradition, a special feature of this year's Prize Day, was a grand dinner at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel for the Priests and senior staff of College hosted by the Chief Guest, Mr. Ashantha Andradi. In addition to the teachers, some of Mr. Andradi's classmates had also been invited for this event.

After a prayer by Fr. Chrispin Leo, Mr. Ashantha Andradi welcomed and re-emphasised the role played by teachers in moulding the character of students in addition to imparting knowledge and recalled his own student days and the guidance received back then from priests and teachers. He singled out Fr. Chris Abeyratne as an example of such priests who helped in no small measure to guide and correct many of the schoolmates in the days gone by. He concluded his speech by proposing a toast to the teachers.

This grand event next saw Fr. Rector thanking Mr. Andradi not only for the dinner he was hosting but also for the magnanimous gift of a library which he said was known to be the largest donation by an Old Boy to any school in Sri Lanka. He thereafter proposed a toast to the success of all of Mr. Andradi's affairs and presented a memento to him. Ms. Imogen Mel proposing the vote of thanks on behalf of the teaching staff thanked Mr. Andradi profusely for hosting such an event specially for the teachers, stressing that it had never happened prior to this and it was obvious she spoke from her heart.

The teachers and the guests had a great time at this well organised event with music provided by Rajitha and Misty with "Thattaya", Ronnie Lietch also joining in.

(Pending the receipt of any official photos, we publish the few amateurish photos that were taken with a telephone camera)

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HISTORY: Brothers of the same family – SJC & SPC

Posted on 05 November 2017 by admin

By: Upali Obeyesekere, an Old Peterite – 

St. Joseph's College and St. Peter's College are two premier Roman Catholic educational institutions in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The two schools have produced alumni that have excelled in academics, politics, sports, administration, business, music, and various other fields not only in the island nation of Sri Lanka but throughout the world. The hallmark of their success has been a commitment to excellence. The two schools enjoy a unique bond of friendship and goodwill that has grown stronger over the years. The following is the history of both schools compiled from various news items and historical material published in the souvenirs of the two schools. If any information is incorrect, please notify the writer by sending an e-mail to upaliobey@rogers.com Thank You!

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 SJC BLDGSt. Joseph's College is a Catholic educational institution that was established in 1896 by French missionaries, with Rev Christopher Ernst Bonjean playing a leading role. The college has over 4000 students with a staff of over 200. Distinguished former students include Cardinal Thomas Cooray the first Cardinal from Sri Lanka, President Ranasinghe Premadasa and Niranjan Deva-Aditya, the first person in history to be born in one continent (Asia) and elected to parliament in another continent (UK). The motto of the college is "Fiat Lux in Scientia et Virtute", meaning " Let there be light through Knowledge and Virtue" in Latin.

In 1892, the idea of a Catholic College emerges with the proposal of the Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Fr. Christopher Bonjean. On 6 January 1892, a pastoral letter was sent to all the priests espousing the desirability of building a Catholic College at St. Mary’s College premises at Mattakkuliya. In April 1892, a public meeting was held to collect funds and discuss the plans for the Catholic College.

Thereafter 27 acres of Land called the ‘uplands’ was bought by the Archbishop for this project, from the government. Later however, this land was bought back by the government with compensation, and the Catholic Church bought a land at Maradana in Darley Road from an Egyptian called Arabi Pasha for the College building.

On 12 December 1894 the foundation stone was laid by the papal delegate for Asia Rev. Msgr, Zalesbbi. In 1896, on 2 March 1896, St. Joseph’s College Colombo was declared open with 211 students in the school proper and 96 students in the preparatory school with Very Rev. Fr. Charles Collin as the First Rector. In November 1896, on 2 March, the College building was formally declared open by Governor of Ceylon West Redgeway and was blessed by Most Rev. Msgr, Zalesbbi, in the presence of the Archbishop Rt. Rev. Fr. Melizan O.M.I.

The Rector‘s office, the College office and the classrooms were all housed in the first building – the Clock Tower building of the College. The College Magazine was started in 1905. The Bonjean Hall was the third building to be completed. Fr. Charles Lytton, the second Rector, planned and supervised the building project of the Bonjean Hall.

Fr. Emil Nicholas O.M.I. was the third Rector appointed in 1910. To Fr. Emil Nicholas goes the credit of primary work on the first Religious Association of the College – the Guild of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In 1914, there was the appointment of the great educationist, scientist and efficient administrator Fr. Maurice J. Legoc O.M.I. the fourth Rector. In 1933 the present Primary building – originally named “The Maurice Block” was constructed. This building was an exact copy of the Bonjean Hall was declared open by Most Rev. Fr. Marques.

The next massive building was the (south Wing) a two-storied building to house the classrooms. During Fr. Maurice Legoc’s tenure of office, there was emphasis of the science subjects in the curriculum, Fr. Legoc’s favourite subject was Botany. His own publication “Tropical Botany” was used as a text book in O’ Level classes in India and Sri Lanka. In 1930, Fr. Maurice Legoc introduced a scheme of scholarships to the under privileged students.

On 19 March 1929, the foundation stone for the College Chapel was laid by the Archbishop of Colombo. The College Chapel is a fitting memorial to Fr. Maurice Legoc.

The southern end of the Primary building an exact copy of the Grotto in Lourdes was built. In 1940, the Very Rev. Fr. Peter A. Pillai (fifth Rector) was appointed. In 1947 – 27 February, due to the World War 2, the College buildings were taken over by the Army. The College was in ‘exile’ from 1942 to 1946, branches of the College were housed in Homagama, Kalaniya, Gampaha and later at Borella.

On 30 July 1952, the swimming pool was declared open by Lord Soulbury, the Governor General of Sri Lanka. after the era of Fr. Peter A. Pillai, Rev. W. L. A. Don Peter (sixth Rector) was appointed as the Rector of St. Joseph’s College in 1959. Fr. Don Peter was the first diocesan priest to hold this responsible post.

In 1960, after the take over of the schools by the Government the financial support was stopped by the government. The College became a private, non fee levying school.

To uplift the financial situation of the College, Fr. W. L. A. Peter founded the Welfare Association, and also started a pre-school for St. Joseph’s. After the tenure of the Sinhala scholar, Fr. W. L. A. don Peter, Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weekakkody (seventh Rector) was given the task of being Chief Executive of St. Joseph’s. after a brief period, Fr. Weerakkody retired as Rector and in 1974, Rev. Fr. Quintus Fernando (eighth Rector) was appointed as Rector. FR. Quintus Fernando was called the architect of the green revolution at St. Joseph’s. He gave pride of pace to agriculture. The agro 74 was a great exhibition which displayed agricultural plots and stressed the importance of agriculture in the school curriculum.

The ‘Open air stadium’ was constructed during the era of Fr. Quintus. The cricket ‘Tuft Pitch’ became a reality during Fr. Quintus’s tenure of office. On 19 September 1977, the Hon. Ranasinghe Premdasa, the first old boy Prime Minister was felicitated by the Josephian family. The work of the Premadasa Pavilion was directed by Fr. Quintus Fernando.

In 1979, Fr. Neville Emmanuel (ninth Rector) was appointed as Rector. During the era of Fr. Neville he tried his best to re-introduce the Catholic atmosphere in the College. Fr. Neville started the scheme of granting incentives to teachers based on punctuality, attendance, good teaching etc. Fr. Neville initiated the sports council, to improve standards in the sports arena. In May 1983, Rev. Fr. B. Stanley Abeysekara was appointed as the 10th Rector of St. Joseph’s College.

To provide an opportunity for deserving under-privileged students to study at St. Joseph’s, a grade 5 scholarship examination was inaugurated in the College. On the results of this examination these students were give an opportunity to study at St. Joseph’s College. In 1987 Thomas Cardinal Cooray, a past student of the College was conferred a very special honour – ‘Deva Dharma Keethisiri Uttunga Vidyala Puthra’.

During the era of Fr. Stanley Abeysekara, the following additions and renovations to the college buildings were completed with funds provided by the Welfare Association and Old Boys.

(a) A two storied building was completed. The top-story for the classrooms, and the ground floor for the sick room, boarders’ refectory and modern kitchen.

(b) An auditorium was built where the Chemistry labs were housed.

(c) In 1991, a three storied building was constructed for class-rooms and laboratories for the advanced level students.

(d) The Enderamulla Branch school was inaugurated.

(e) A sports complex cum auditorium was declared open by Nicholas Marcus Fernando on 19 March 1996, funded mainly by Old Boys worldwide.

The College centenary year was inaugurated.

On 30 March 1996, Rev. Fr. Victor Silva (11th Rector) was appointed as Rector of St. Joseph’s College. The Choral singing at St. Joseph’s College reached very high standards, with Mr. Francis Almeida as music director. The Bonjean Hall and the College swimming pool were renovated with funds from Old Boys from the country and overseas. The introduction of the boating facilities were a valuable addition to St. Joseph’s College during the era of Fr. Victor Silva, three classroom buildings were constructed for the Enderamulla branch school. The branch-school of St. Joseph’s at Kadolkelle – Negombo was inaugurated during the latter days of Fr. Victor Silva.

On 3 October 2005, Sylvester Ranasinghe was appointed as 12th Rector of St. Joseph’s College. A systematic staff development programme was introduced at St. Joseph’s by the Rector. During Ranasinghe’s era, different age groups of past students started undertaking different projects for the welfare of the College – innovations and refurbishment of the different buildings were undertaken by the old boys under the direction of the Rector.One significant restoration was the Bonjean Hall undertaken by the Old Boys' Union at a cost of over Rs. 12 m. The dormitory, classrooms were restored and renovated by old boys.

Computerizing different aspects of school administration and curriculum has been completed.

The present college

The school functions as an "assisted school" with substantial state funding but mainly from its old boy unions worldwide

Situated in the heart of the city, its set of buildings cover 12 acres (49,000 m2) and comprise a sports complex, and a swimming pool that is built to Olympic Standards.

The school prepares students for local Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations in Sinhalese, Tamil and English Mediums. In 1996 the latest branch School of St. Joseph's College was opened in Enderamulla, Wattala, 15 km from Colombo. Another branch school that has become a leading Catholic school in the country is St Peter's College, Colombo. Previously known as St. Joseph's South, it was built to cater to the families in the southern part of Colombo who failed to admit their sons to St. Joseph's Colombo, which has now become their main rivals and compete in sports and other activities which are known as "Battle of the Saints" in Sri Lanka. In 2009 st Peter's won the battle after 30 years.

Present rector of St.Joseph's college (as at 2017) is Rev.Fr. Travis Gabriel.

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SPC EntranceSt. Peter's College, Colombo

The most important date in the history of the college is April 8th 1927. The College estamblished its own identity that day. The Wellawatte branch of St. Joseph 's College Colombo was registered as a separate secondary school by Gazette notification No: 7575 of 2nd April, 1927 with the name St. Peter's College, Wellawatte.

The celebrations in connection with the re-naming of the College had been held on Wednesday, 29th June with the feast of St. Peter with a high mass sung by Very. Rev. Fr. M. J. Le Goc assisted by Rev. Fr. Morel and Theobald Silva. After mass, a colourful ceremony took place on the lawn in front of the college. The College flag with the colours blue, white and gold was blessed by Rev. Fr. Le Goc and hoisted.

Golden Jubilee 1922 – 1972

The year 1972 dawned with memories of that historic and glorious day when St. Peter's was inaugurated on 18th January 1922. It was celebrated with jubilation, thanks giving and a bit of reflection of the five decades that had passed. Teachers, parents, old boys, benefactors and the students had a reason to celebrate the fifty years of endeavour and achievement.

The celebrations commenced with a re-enactment of the event with 200 Josephians walking along Darley Road to the Maradana Railway Station and the train stopped at the vary same place as it did fifty years ago when they were being led by Fr. Maurice Le Goc along Kinross Avenue. The Josephians were led by their Rector Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weerakkody, Rev. Fr. Marcellinc Jayakody and Rev. Fr. Lucien Dep and were welcomed by the Peterite Band playing both college anthems. Lt. Heraclitus Jayasekera of St. Peter's was there with the Peterites to welcome them. Mr. J. A. A. Perera an Old Josephian, the only surviving person who had participated in the 1922 event was there too. The Rector Rev. Fr. Theodore Peiris welcomed the Josephians and a special Assembly was held in the Quadrangle. The celebration concluded on 22nd January, 1922 with the Thanksgiving Mass concelebrated by His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray, Archbishop of Colombo.

Diamond Jubilee 1922 – 1982

Monday, 18th January, 1982 St Peter's recorded its sixty years of service in the field of education since the Archbishop Coudert blessed and opened the new school, St. Joseph 's College South in 1922. The occasion was celebrated in a fitting manner with a large and representative congregation that attended the concelebrated thanksgiving mass held in the open air college quadrangle. The Mass was held in the presence of sixty priests who concelebrated the mass with the Chief celebrant His Lordship Oswald Gomis, the auxiliary Bishop of Colombo. His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray, Archbishop Emeritus of Colombo and their Lordship Frank Marcus Fernando and Edmund Fernando O.M.I. were also present.

Due to the great strides made in a short time in the fields of studies, sports and the improvement in discipline under the leadership of Fr. Wickremasinghe resulted in large the number of applications being received for new admissions. In order to cope this situation, two new houses were added in the Diamond Jubilee year, Basil House named after the second rector Rev. Fr. Basil A. Wiratunga O.M.I. and Arthur House named after the third Rector Rev. Fr. Arthur N. Fernando. These houses participated for the first time in the Diamond Jubilee athletic Meet held on June, 26th 1982.

In the diamond Jubilee year, the College Cadet platoon was re-introduced after a lapse of twenty years. More significant however was the elevation on the 15th July, 1982 of the first Old boy Bishop, Rev. Fr. Dr. Henry Joy Gunawardene as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Anuradhapura – He paid an official visit to College and was given a fitting reception. Also, the Nancy Emily Wickremasinghe Scholarship was established in the Diamond Jubilee Year which was awarded to the best student entering University presented by a loyal Old boy Mr. Anton Wickremasinghe, Chairman of the Film Corporation. The diamond Jubilee celebration came to a close with the prize giving held on 3rd of December, 1982, where His Excellency J.R. Jayawardene President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka was the Chief Guest. On this day the College hall was named as the 'Nicholas Perera Hall' after its builder. The plaque was unveiled by President J.R. Jayawardene.

The present rector of St. Peter's College is Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin.

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