The words of Jesus Christ “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” enter to mind when entering the premises of Supuwath Arana. This unique place, situated along Kotugoda Road, Seeduwa provides the much needed peace of mind and calmness to anyone who steps into its premises.
You enter a completely different world once you enter through the gates of Supuwath Arana. This institution, run and managed by Rev. Fr. Darrel Coonghe, is not that typical church where you go for worship services, listen to sermons and then come back home to your routine lives.
Although it is part of the Catholic Archdiocese, Supuwath Arana is not just a Church.
Place for peace of mind
This place has something different for you. It is a place where you go to find peace and tranquility, to ease your mind from the stress and worries of the mundane world. This
6.5-acre landscape is designed to ensure you find that much needed peace of mind while at the same time you receive God’s Word, when you travel through it every step of the way.
What is so different about Supuwath Arana?
Coordinating Secretary of the Centre, Lester Fernando said that the institution functions as a Psycho spiritual and social formation centre which helps people to find solace.
It’s a place where you receive the much needed mental strength to face the challenges in life, when you know that life does not have much to offer.
Once you enter, you will witness the depictionsof Jesus’ agony, which begins from the prayer at Gethsemane, before he was betrayed by Judas, and the subsequent events that lead up to his crucifixion and resurrection.
Spiritual, psycho-social help
“We conduct programmes such as retreats and seminars for adults and children. In addition, we also help the people in need through various means. The centre also has a
Scholarship fund through which we help the students who are in need,” Fernando explained.
Devotees who visit the premises are given explanations of the 13 stations of the Jesus’ journey towards His crucifixion. These explanations are given based on the current contexts so that they could relate the suffering of Jesus.
But, Supuwath Arana is not only for Christians. It does not belong to those of one faith. “It’s open for all who are troubled,” Fernando added. An incident which was witnessed by Nation stands testimony to this. A person who is of a different faith and who had been suffering due to an ailment had visited the place. The priest who was told of his plight decided to pray for the person.
After the prayer he said, “Son, you’re not a sick person. You have gone through a lot of tribulation in life and your sickness is an intermediate result of all these troubles. What you need to do is address that problem and all of the rest will be solved.”
Thousands of people throng to the centre on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays to listen to Fr. Coonghe’s sermons and to walk around the premises. “This place attracts many people because of the fact that it gives them peace. We take them away from the mundane world and show them God’s Love and what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us by sacrificing His life on the cross,” Fernando explained.
The reason for such a large congregation lies not only on the landscape and the planning of the centre, but also on how the Word of God reaches those who come there.
Supuwath Arana was conceptualized in 2003, three years after the arrival of Fr. Coonghe to the area, on a land area of 34 perches. Since the area was a marshland, the concept was based on water. Initially the land belonged to a school run by the Archdiocese. The school was then taken over by the Government during the late 90s and was subsequently shifted elsewhere. However, the land was handed back to the diocese. The diocese then purchased the adjoining land in order to extend the premises. “After we extended the land area, we built the extension above the water level,” he added.
The centre has a floating meditation centre. “The other specialty is that we have the Holy Eucharist in a boat,” Fernando explained. “There will be a few people praying at the boat at any given time. The most important thing is that these prayers have been answered, which makes this place blessed and special,” he added.
Pics by Ravindra Dharmathilake