Sri Lanka’s humble Catholic Bishop passed away

Former auxiliary Bishop of Colombo Archdiocese, Bishop Vincent Marius Joseph Peiris, who was known for his simplicity and pivotal roles in priestly formation and empowerment of lay people, passed away at the age of 83.

Bishop Marius Peiris was born on Oct. 11, 1941, and ordained as a priest in 1972 ended his earthly life on May 13 at the “Evening Star” retirement facility in Colombo.

From 1972-1989, he served at the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka in Kandy and was appointed rector in 1998.

Pope John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of Colombo in 2001. He retired in 2018.

Bishop Marius served as the secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) and held important roles in various episcopal commissions including the Catholic National Commission for Seminaries, Clergy, Religious, and Secular Institutes and Social Communication Commission.

During his time in the seminary, he opened a new Philosophy center and started publishing a bi-annual theological periodical, “Living Faith” for clergy and religious in the country.

Bishop Peiris faced criticism from some clergy for his commitment to reforming the priestly formation system but remained steadfast in his stand, says some of his close associates.

He is credited for overhauling priestly formation through consultation with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka.

A prolific scholar on social issues, Peiris studied at the London School of Economics and obtained an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Political Sociology.

Also Sister Deepa Fernando , Coconviner of the Movement of Christian Women’s Voice shared her views on late Bishop Peiris with Asia News.

“I express my deep respect for Bishop Marius’s precious life on this soil. He was an amazing person whom I met in the Catholic church of Sri Lanka. He was an outstanding teacher with the ability to passionately and creatively communicate his subjects especially economics and political science”, said Sister Deepa.

“He taught me economics and political science before I entered university. In the university, I continue the same with his guidance. He inspired me to pursue political science, a subject that was unfamiliar to sisters at the time. I used to visit and consult him while in the Colombo University to get assistance in solving any problems related to my subjects. He is a brilliant scholar who has in-depth knowledge of his subjects” she added.

“I bow my head to a teacher and a priest who is compassionate and greatly humane”. Sister Deepa added.

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