Obituary – Rev. Bro. Emmanuel Nicholas – De La Salle Brother (Old Benedictine)

From: Eric Motha
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 10:51 PM
Subject: Obituary – Rev. Bro. Emmanuel Nicholas – De La Salle Brother (Old Benedictine)

Rev.Bro. Dr.Emmanuel Nicholas FSC and I were classmates from LKG to SSC at which stage he answered God’s call to serve as a De La Salle Brother.He was a younger sibling of late Dr.Roy Nicholas who died in the UK some years ago.

May he now rest in God’s Heavenly abode after serving the Lord in the La Sallian Vineyard for nearly 60 long years in various capacities.


—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Darrel Ludowyke 
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 8:09 PM
Subject: Re: Obituary – Rev. Bro. Emmanuel Nicholas – De La Salle Brother (Old Benedictine)

Dear Friends,
Sad to inform the passing away of Old Benedictine, Rev. Bro. Emmanuel Nicholas – De La Salle Brother (Was called to his eternal reward last evening, 14th June 2017)
Late Bro. Emmanuel was the former Provincial Visitor (1988-1991) and Founder Chairman of Lasallian Community Educational Services (LCES), He was a Brother for 60 years. He served as a missionary in Pakistan for about 20 years and returned to Sri Lanka in 1980 to serve as a Brothers’ formator, Brother Auxiliary Visitor and Brother Visitor. LCES was his brain child, through which he served the poorer communities in Colombo 15.
Late Bro. Emmanuel also served as the Sub-Director of St. Benedict’s College, ( 2010 to 2011) under the Directorship of Rev. Bro. Granville Perera, subsequent to being appointed as Director, Institute of Spiritual Formation of Asia at Mutwal.
Funeral will take place at Madampitiya cemetery on Friday, 16th June 2017 after Holy Mass at 3.00 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Novitiate Chapel in Mutwal.
Funeral Arrangements:
15th June, Thursday:
01.30 p.m.  Remains will be at LCES, 25 Temple Road, Mutwal.
06.00 p.m.  To St. Joseph’s Chapel, 130 De La Salle Street, Mutwal.
06.45 p.m.   Thanksgiving Mass
16th June, Friday:
03.00 p.m.   Funeral Mass at St. Joseph’s Chapel
                       Burial at Madampitiya Cemetery
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace,
Kindly circulate.

JULY BREEZE 2017 – Annual Picnic Social for vintage Old Bens


Dear Ben,

​Here are the details of our Annual Outing to Meet, Greet and Renew Friendship among the Vintage Old Bens.

SUNDAY 23 July, 2017 11​.00​ am – 04.00 pm at Palm Village Hotel 

No: 262, Old Colombo Road, Uswetakeiyawa, Hendala, Wattala  (Tel: +94 11 7 828114)

You have a major role to play to make JB2017 a success. As the email address list is long I have sent in bcc.

​ * Encourage early purchase of JB2017 Tickets reasonably priced at Rs.2500 per person​. Pls contact Gamini Kannangara 0777 753 660 for you bulk ticket requirements.

​ * Pledge Donations to provide Financial Scholarships for needy Bens to attend JB2017; especially those overseas and unable to attend. Just 25A$/ C$/S$s, or 20 US$ will bring joy to an Old Ben friend. Pls deposit directly into the Sampath Bank Account. ​

* Volunteer to Sponsor key items as shown in the attached file to make JB2017 affordable to all. Thanks Tilak & Victor for your pledges.

Yours in Benedictinity,

John NLC Fernando
+65 9637 9269
+94 777 619 637

JB2017 Flyer v1.docx

JULY BREEZE 2017 Benedictinity Sponsorship V2.docx

JB2017 Enrollment-Pledge BenNameAge v1.xls

21st AGM

From: Eric Motha
Sent: Monday, June 12, 2017 10:22 PM
Subject: 21st AGM

The 21st Annual General Meeting of the OBA was held on Sunday June 10, 2017 at the ORCHARDS Community Hall, Surrey,BC.

We had an appreciable gathering of members and spouses who graced the occasion.The meeting was followed by Bens fellowship and dinner.The members of varying vintage spent the fleeting hours in camaraderie reminiscing of their student days and De La Salle Brothers & teachers who molded them to be what they are today.

The following were re-elected to hold office for 2017/2018

Patron: Rev.Bro.Director St.Benedict’s College,Colombo

President: Eric Motha

Vice President: Michael Ramanaden

Secretary: Desmond Anthonypillai

Treasurer: Peter Vethanayagam

Committee: Ranjit De Vaz, Eugene Motha, Prabath Pullay, John A Fernando & Ajith Seneviratne

Auditor: Shehan Salgadoe


Please click on link below for AGM pics.Photographer: Old Ben Rohan De Vaz.

113th Annual General Meeting of St. Benedict’s College Old Boys’ Union – Sunday 18th June 2017

From: Darrel Ludowyke

Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2017 8:36 AM
Subject: 113th Annual General Meeting of St. Benedict’s College Old Boys’ Union – Sunday 18th June 2017

Dear Friends,
The Annual General Meeting of St. Benedict’s College Old Boys’ Union will be held on Sunday 18th June 2017 at the College premises, preceded by Holy Mass commencing 9.00 a.m. which will be presided over by His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Fidelis Fernando(Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo and Past Benedictine) and concelebrated by Old Benedictine priests, Rev. Dr. Noel Dias and newly ordained Old Benedictine Rev. Fr. Rajitha Liyanage.

All Members are cordially invited to rally together at this prestigious event of the Old Boys’ Union, as we celebrate 113 years of loyal and dedicated service to our Alma Mater.
The annual session will be followed by a fellowship lunch and get-together at the Old Bens Sports Club.
Kindly contact the following, for Lunch Reservations: (Buffet Lunch – Rs. 750/-)
Stephen Corera- 0777 348417, Peter De Croos– 0776 396060, Anton Leon – 0714 805287, Ashan Stanislaus – 0777 558244, Darrel Ludowyke – 0777 414567 or any Council Member.
Kindly circulate among the Benedictine fraternity.


OBA-21st AGM Preliminary Notice

From: Eric Motha
Sent: Monday, May 1, 2017 11:04 AM
Subject: OBA-21st AGM Preliminary Notice

The AGM will be held on Sunday June 11,2017 at:

ORCHARDS, Community Hall, 16233 -82nd Avenue,Surrey,BC, commencing 7.00 pm.

The meeting will be followed by fellowship and dinner.

The turnout at the AGM during recent years has been very encouraging and it is hoped the momentum will be maintained this year too.

The formal notice, annual report and audited a/c’s will be mailed to all members in good time.

Thank you for coming on board.

Eric Motha

Celebrating the life of a Jesuit Socialist: Fr Paul Caspersz, SJ (1925-2017)

From: Eric Motha
Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2017 11:50 AM
Subject: Fw: Celebrating the life of a Jesuit Socialist: Fr Paul Caspersz, SJ (1925-2017)

Fr.Paul Caspersz SJ- a distinguished Old Benedictine.

Sunday Island – Celebrating the life of a Jesuit Socialist: Fr Paul Caspersz, SJ (1925-2017)  – by Rajan Philips – April 29, 2017

article_image“My legs have carried me for 90 years. Now they have earned their well-deserved rest”, he would tell his visitors at the Jesuit House in Akkara Panaha, Negombo, where he spent the last years of his life confined to his bed and a wheel chair. Now his entire mortal coil has earned its rest. Fr. Paul Caspersz, a priest of the order of the Society of Jesus for 65 years, died last Wednesday at the age of 92. His funeral was in Kandy, where he lived for over 40 years, and he was laid to rest at the Lewella Jesuit cemetery. It was difficult to see Fr Paul unable to walk, although he was otherwise his usual self. Tall and handsome, he was well proportioned in physical appearance. He was equally well adjusted in his character and in his bearing. He was inspired as a teenager to become a Jesuit and to go to Oxford as a Jesuit “after reading a page or two about Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits in the context of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation”, in the unlikeliest of sources: ‘A History of England’ by T.F. Tout. He accomplished both and remained true to his faith, his celibate life, and the fierce commitment of Jesuits to the first cause that inspired them. Fr. Paul was much more.

Along with Kumar David, Marshal Fernando and many others, I belong to a group of people who have known Fr Paul for over 40 years ever since he started the Satyodaya institute and movement in Kandy. I am privileged to write these words of appreciation on their behalf as well as mine. We were associated with Fr Paul quite closely in the world of the secular rather than the domain of the sacred. He would have scoffed at the false dichotomy because to him one was suffused with the other.

Jesuit Formation

At the time of his ordination in 1952, in Naples, Italy, he was the youngest person in the world to be ordained a Jesuit priest. I did not know this until it came up during my last visit to see him, in August last year. The record may still be intact because the process of ‘Jesuit formation’, or training, is the most rigorous and the longest program, usually lasting well over 10 years, for preparing priests in the Catholic Church. The formation involves about four stages of training and the taking of multiple vows, and one is usually well past 30 by the time of ordination. Fr Paul started his ‘formation’ at 17 and was ordained at the age of 27. He politely attributed it to luck because he was allowed to skip the ‘Regency stage’ during which Jesuit brothers work in Jesuit schools and institutions. When I suggested it might have been due to his being an exceptional student, he chuckled.

In his own words, what attracted him to the Jesuits was “their spirit of being spiritual in the very fortresses of the secular, their sturdiness and what seemed to me a complete absence of pious sentimentality, the breadth of their vision which seemed to encompass the whole universe.” He would later discover through his own experience that the distinction between the sacred and the secular is a false distinction. What he wrote in his obituary of Fr Thani Nayagam, 37 years ago, is entirely applicable to Fr Caspersz: “As a humanist, scholar and priest, he was in the line of great priests and monks of our time and every time who have immersed themselves in the secular because to them the secular was suffused with the sacred.” It must be added that their accomplished immersion in the secular was often despite the Catholic Church, but never in defiance of the Church.

Fr Paul’s life was a life of inspiration and discipline. A highly inspired life unfolded from one stage to another as if it had been carefully pre-scripted. The Jesuit training was transparent. He had deep wells of inspiration, but he also had the discipline to trim the flights of inspiration to meaningful goals, the determination to achieve them, and the method to achieve them more perfectly than most people. What is unique about him is that he sustained this exceptionally high level of inspiration and achievement for over 70 years from the time he joined the Jesuit Noviciate at the tender age of 17 to the day he retired to the Jesuit Retirement Home at the ripe old age of 90. For someone who lost his father when he was a three month old baby, Fr Paul lived a long and healthy life, never afflicted by any serious illness, except, as he would jokingly say in later years, “the incurable illness of aging.” His last years would have been painful, but he endured them with priestly forbearance and prayers in the company of fellow Jesuit Fathers. His only regret, he said, “I am not able to meet as many people as I have been used to as a daily routine.”

New Culture, New Society

In 2005, the Jesuits of the Sri Lanka Province honoured Fr Paul Caspersz by publishing his selected writings as a beautifully edited book, entitled: “A New Culture for a New Society – Selected Writings 1945-2005.” The book was released on December 2, 2005, as a mark of the Sri Lankan Jesuits’ con-celebration of the triple jubilee of the Society of Jesus: the 450th death anniversary of Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuit founder; and the 500th birth anniversaries of Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, two of St. Ignatius’s most famous companions. On the same day there was a global gathering in Loyola, Spain, to celebrate the triple jubilee. For those of us who knew Fr Paul and his work, the book provides a clear window to a life time of inspirations, organization and achievements. Thirty six out of more than 300 writings have been selected and fittingly divided into five sections: Plantations, The Inter-Ethnic Question, Socio-spiritual Issues, Personal Reflections and Memories, and Development.

The book outlines his life trajectory: early education at St Benedict’s College and St Joseph’s College, Colombo; Philosophy at the Jesuit noviciate in Shembaganur, Madurai, Tamil Nadu; Theology and Ordination in 1952, Naples, Italy; Politics and Economics at Oxford; teacher and Principal at St Aloysius’ College, Galle (1958-71); and the founding of Satyodaya with Bishop Leo Nanayakkara, in Kandy, in 1972. From his Reflections and Memories, we learn about his upbringing by a strong mother who became a widow after the sudden death of her 34-year old husband. Fr Paul was a three month old baby. As a teenager he told his mother that he wanted to become a Jesuit and go to Oxford to study, emulating Edmund Campion, the English Jesuit, he had read about in Tout’s history book. He kept his promises to his mother and to himself.

When he returned from Oxford, he was well prepared to play a leading role in the field of education that the Jesuits are famous for in every country in the world. But Fr Paul was also well prepared to play a path breaking role in the wider Sri Lankan society. He had no precedent to follow, and he has set an example that will be daunting for others to emulate. After a long stint at St. Aloysius’ College in Galle, Fr Paul started a new chapter in his life with co-founding, with Bishop Leo Nanayakkara, the institute of Satyodaya (literally, the dawn of truth) in Kandy, dedicated to the purpose of “Social Research and Encounter.” For 40 years, he presided over, expanded, worked with and trained hundreds of young women and men at Satyodaya.

The physical expansion of Satyodaya is a testament to Fr Paul’s meticulous planning and organizational abilities. He transformed an old bungalow on a hill into a complex of multiple buildings with winding access roads, a self-supporting farm and its own sources of sustainable energy. The institute provides accommodation to volunteers, activists and visiting researchers and scholars. Equally impressive are the library which he carefully cultivated and nurtured, and the auditorium and training rooms for conferences and workshops. Whatever original intentions that Fr Paul and Bishop Leo might have had for their fledgling institute, they were soon overtaken by political events and social crises first in the tea plantations and later in the entire country. Fr Paul led Satyodaya’s responses to these broader crises providing both humanitarian help and political organization.

Foundational to these responses was the Marxist-Christian Dialogue, which Fr Paul and Kumar David organized as a two-day residential program at the Lewella Jesuit House, in May 1974. As Fr Paul has recorded several times, the event took a practical turn after Hector Abhayavardhana’s inspirational after-dinner intervention, that “the liberation of Tamil estate workers from their own material alienation was the necessary precondition of the liberation of all the people of Sri Lanka from their general socio-historical alienation.” Out sprang the Co-ordination Secretariat for the Plantation Areas, to help both the Tamil estate workers and Sinhalese peasants in adjacent villages affected by food scarcity and the unintended consequences of the 1972 and 1975 land reform measures.

In 1977, Fr Paul responded to the island-wide communal riots by launching the Movement for Inter-Racial Justice and Equality (MIRJE). He was the moving force behind all the activities and initiatives of MIRJE, its fact finding missions to Jaffna, its publications and public communications to government and political leaders. When the forces of chauvinism and exclusion became too powerful to push back, Fr Paul did not give up. He kept up the fire of hope burning in spite of efforts by the state to silence him and close Satyodaya. He who founded and built the institute, protected it from being eliminated, and has left it in the good hands of the Jesuits to continue to be of service to the community.

In 1999, Fr Paul joined a group of us – Silan Kadirgamar, Kumar David, Marshal Fernando and I, to felicitate Hector Abhayavardhana on his 80th birthday. “Arma verumque cano (Now is the time to praise men)”, Fr Paul opened the proceedings quoting Virgil. We were able to return the favour in 2005 when Fr Paul turned 80. To end on a personal note, Fr Paul was one of three public figures who had an influence on my intellectual and cultural development. The other two were Fr Xavier Thani Nayagam and Hector Abhayavardhana. Fr Thani was also my maternal uncle and Hector Abhyavardhana was Sri Lanka’s foremost Marxist intellectual. They did not know one another, but Fr Paul knew them independently and was a good friend of both. I was fortunate and I am thankful to have been associated with them in one way or another. Each one was unique, but Fr Paul’s uniqueness is especially fascinating. He was a Jesuit socialist.