Fostering friendship and people-to-people ties through cultural and religious diplomacy: Sri Lanka promoted at the Feast Day of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Makati, Philippines

In line with its initiatives to showcase Sri Lanka’s best facets directly to the Filipino public, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila participated at a special mass dedicated to the bonds of friendship between the two nations and its deep religious ties followed by a country promotion at the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on 12 December 2021.

The Embassy organized a Sri Lanka tourism and Ceylon tea promotion booth which was formally launched with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Philippines Shobini Gunasekera, Rev. Fr. Roderic Castro, Rev. Fr. Pushpakumara, and members of the Sri Lankan Catholic religious community.

The Shrine’s devotees enjoyed the complimentary Ceylon tea served at the booth, eagerly took photos, and inquired about tourism attractions in Sri Lanka. Tourism brochures and tea samples were also distributed.

As part of the festivities, the lighting of the traditional oil lamp commenced the special mass officiated by Rev. Fr. Maximus Pushpakumara, a Sri Lankan priest based in the Shrine. The said mass was attended by hundreds of devotees and broadcasted live with around 1,900 viewers in social media.

A soulful rendition of “Ma Mauni” and “Namo Mariyani”, hymns of devotion to the Virgin Mary in Sinhala, was performed by the Embassy’s officers and staff.

In her remarks, Ambassador Gunasekera extended her felicitations and best wishes on the solemn occasion devoted to the Shrine’s patron, the Our Lady of Guadalupe. She highlighted that faith and religion serves as a special ground for both countries to further expand its longstanding ties founded by bonds of friendship and shared aspirations.

She then invited the devotees to visit Sri Lanka as their post pandemic travel destination and enjoy its distinct beauty, unique features, and its rich religious heritage through a religious tourism trip.

Fr. Roderic Castro, the Shrine’s Parish Priest, and Fr. Pushpakumara both expressed their gratitude to the Embassy for joining in their celebration and promoting camaraderie and solidarity with the Filipino people by sharing a glimpse of Sri Lankan culture and traditions to the devotees.

The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic nation serving as a home to a Sri Lankan Catholic religious community which includes priests, nuns, and missionaries, most of whom are engaged in various pastoral activities and higher education pursuits.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
17th December 2021