Parish History


of St. Mary's Church, Bambalapitiya

Until 1886, Bambalapitiya was a substation of St. Philip Neri's Church in Pettah. At this time, the Mission of Philip Neri's comprised the areas of Pettah, Slave Island, Kollupitiya and Bambalapitiya, including Thimbirigasyaya.

From its inception the Parish of St. Mary's was closely associated with the priestly formation of the Oblate order. Fr. François Euze, OMI assumed duties as Parish Priest from 15 December 1901, and continued until 1912. The foundation stone of the present stately church you see today, was laid by Archbishop Anthony Coudert, OMI on 12 July 1908. The church was ready for services in 1912, and was completed by 1917, and was blessed by Archbishop Coudert. The library and the bookstall were added in 1927. You can see these two dates, 1917 and 1927 inscribed on the left and right side of the church.

St. Mary's in turn has seen its substations at Thimbirigasyaya and Kollupitiya become full fledged Parishes in their own right, namely St. Theresa's and St. Anthony's. The Parish also played a key role in the two famous Catholic schools in Bambalapitiya, namely St. Peter's and Holy Family Convent. To date, only Rev. Fr. Joe De Mel has had the honour of being baptised and serving as Parish Priest here.

This web article is necessarily limited. There is much on the historic and miraculous Lady of Livramento statue, the changes to the building and mission house you see today, and the historic project to build a Centenary Hall in the Centenary Souvenir.

A comprehensively researched and more complete article on the history of the Parish and the Church, is available in the Centenary Souvenir. It is available for sale at Rs. 2,500 at the Parish Bookshop.


















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