The Archdiocese of Colombo celebrated its recent “children’s day” with the performance of a newly-created musical recounting the period in Mary’s life from the Annunciation until the birth of Christ.
“It pictures a kind of moral dilemma, and thoughts that may have passed in the mind of Mary from the time of her consent (at the Annunciation), with the consequences seeming to contradict the law of Moses,” Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, the writer and director of the musical, told CNA March 18.
Fr. Fernando serves as episcopal vicar for the Colombo archdiocese, and called the presentation “a theological, musical drama.”
“Mahoththamawi,” or “Greatest Mother” in Sinhalese, premiered March 1 outside on the grounds of Tewatta Basilica, the national shrine of Our Lady of Lanka, located in the Colombo suburb of Ramaga.
The performance followed a Mass, and more than 3,000 students and faithful attended the premier of the 45-minute musical which features choreography, singing, and dancing.
It was performed by an acting troupe led by Rajini Selvanayagam.
Fr. Fernando said it reflects the “quandary and fear” that may have been in Mary’s mind, presented with Mariological reflections, taking into account her meditative, prayerful background and her knowledge of the Pentateuch and the prophets of the Jewish Bible.
“She was very well aware of the law, the consequences in society, and the Law of Moses, but she trusted in the Word of God,” Fr. Fernando stated.
He produced the musical as part of the Archdiocese of Colombo’s designation of the 2013-2014 academic year as a “Year of Mary.”
“We are taking this opportunity to explore her importance and role in the salvation and redemption of mankind,” the priest said.
The archdiocese’s annual children’s day gives students the opportunity to attend an exhibition on religious vocations, where they get to know the history of the Church in Sri Lanka and its various religious congregations.
In addition, they toured the basilica, learning about historic engravings established by Archbishop Oswald Gomis, who led the archdiocese from 2002 to 2009, as well as an exhibit on Bl. Joseph Vaz, a 17th century Oratorian known at the “Apostle of Sri Lanka.”
The day was presided over by Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, and the homily at the Mass was preached in dialogue by four priests, in both Sinhalese and Tamil.
Cardinal Ranjith told the children that he had visited Rome last month and that “when I met the Holy Father Pope Francis in February, I told him about the Children's Day and then the Holy Father conveyed his loving greetings and blessings to you all.”