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Our Lady of Madhu' returns home

'Our Lady of Madhu' returns home (Updated)

The most venerated statue of 'Our Lady of Madhu'.

The sacred statue of 'Our Lady of Madhu' was brought Tuesday, at 11.10a.m., into the liberated area, across the Omanthai Entry/Exit point following consistent appeals made by the Catholic community, all Sri Lankans and the international community for its immediate release from the clutches of LTTE.

The statue was brought in an ambulance (WP LW-O276) by Rev. Peter Arulnadan, also accompanied by Father Sathyapillai Emaliyanuspillai, and Sister Idha Thomas who have reportedly arrived at the Mannar Bishop's House this evening after leaving the  Entry/Exit at around 11.25a.m., our defence correspondent at Omanthai said.

The highly venerated statue of our Lady of Madhu was taken to Thevanpiddi area located 70 kilometers Northwest of Madhu in the non-liberated zone by the priests and sisters of the church as ordered by the LTTE on 3rd April.

LTTE terrorists almost turned the Madhu shrine into a terror base by positioning its heavy guns around the church and using it as a barrack for its cadres, before the shrine was liberated by SLA troops beating off the occupying LTTE terrorists on 25th April.

The centuries old 'Our Lady of Madhu' is held sacred and respected by all Sri Lankans irrespective of religion and ethnicity. Thousands of pilgrims used to visit the shrine, especially during the annual 10 day church feast on August, before the terrorists took control of the area in 1999.

The earnest belief of Catholics and many peace loving people have paid off a defence official said, further adding that the holy statue is to be placed back in its original position at the Madhu shrine once the renovations of the LTTE-damaged buildings are completed. The Sri Lanka Army has undertaken repairs and renovations which cost around Rs 1.5 million following a directive given by Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, Army said. 

Meanwhile, in a communiqué released later this evening the Bishop of Mannar, most Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph asserted that, the sacred statue will be taken back to its original abode Madhu, when the situation becomes conducive after due potential services according to the tradition and practice of the Catholic Church.

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