WHO WE ARE
The Prayer Ministry began as a result of a personal experience with the Risen Lord who appeared on 08th May 2009 to Rev Fr Ajith Perera OMI, Roman Catholic Priest belonging to the congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Based on this personal experience he began a small prayer group with four persons in order to intercede for an organized mission with the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. We gathered together on 08th November 2009 for a prayer meeting at ‘Samata Sarana’, 531 Aluthmawatha Road, Colombo 15, the then place of mission of Fr Ajith Perera. Lead by the Holy Spirit and with the intercessions made before God we initiated our first Praise and Worship Service at St Hugo’s Church, Burulapitiya, Gampaha Deanery, on 5th February 2010. As we continued our journey with the Lord, we experienced and witnessed the living presence of Jesus Christ in our own lives and that of the people who joined in prayer.
The miracles, conversion of hearts and many more powerful works of Our Lord Jesus, made us gather people day by day around our mission. At the end of the year 2012, as requested by the then Parish Priest, we started another Praise and Worship Service at St Lawrence’s Church, Wellawatte, every first Tuesday of each month. Apart from that, in many parishes, viz. Nayakakanda, Moratuwa (Katukurunda), Beruwella, Wadduwa, Payagala, Rawathawatha, Ratnapura, Wanathawilluwa, Padaviya (Anurdhapura) and All Saints Church, Borella, we conducted our Praise & Worship and other spiritual programmes. Fr Ajith also had the opportunity to conduct a Praise & Worship Prayer Service at St Mary’s Parish Church, Dubai in 2012 and this mission was for a month.
In 2011, Fr Ajith took up duties at St Vincent’s Home, Maggona, and it was during this time he made a special request from the OMI Administration to allow him to conduct this prayer ministry full time. The response was positive and the OMI Province of Colombo gave their approval and blessings to start this prayer ministry, officially, and the Prayer Centre was established at the National Calvary Shrine, Maggona. On 25th April 2009, we started our prayer ministry with the name ‘Oblate Prayer Centre’ (Nimala Mariya Dhaham Piyasa). The opening ceremony was graced by His Lordship Rt Rev Dr Maxwell Silva, Auxilliary Bishop of Colombo. We then started our mission officially as one of the special apostolates of St Vincent’s Home.
REV FR AJITH PERERA OMI
“In order that, as it is written, let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1Cor:1:31)
Born on 18 th September 1975, as the youngest in a family of three. Being the youngest, I was given special attention by my parents and siblings. I did my initial studies at Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, Payagala and Aluthgama Maha Vidyalaya. In 1991 I sat for the GCE O’level examination and obtained the required grades. As time passed, in 1992, Rev Fr Michael Croos OMI, the then Vocation Director, visited our parish, St Joseph’s Church, Payagala, and spoke to the children of the Sunday School and I was one of them. The inspiring talk of Fr Croos made me think of joining the seminary. As a result, I faced my first interview on 3 rd May 1992 with the intention of joining the Oblate Juniorate, Kohuwela, and gained admission on 10 th May 1992.
After my GCE A’level examination, I entered the Pre-Novitiate, Maggona, 1996-1997. In 1997, having entered the Oblate Novitiate at Sidupiyanila, Bandarawella, on 08 th September 1998, I professed my first vows. The same year I entered the National Seminiary, Ampitiya, for my studies in Philosophy and Theology and continued by priestly formation at Oblate Scholasticate.
Having completed my priestly studies, on 17 th September 2005 I was ordained a priest by Rt Rev Dr Norbert Andradi OMI, Bishop of Anuradhapura. The following day, which also happened to be my thirtieth birthday, I celebrated my First Holy Eucharist at my parish church, St Joseph’s Church, Payagala. It was indeed a blessing from God to the people of my parish as it was after one hundred years that a son from this parish was chosen by God to serve Him in His vineyard. On 21 st September a week after my ordination, I went to St Leonard’s Church, Kamaragoda, Gampaha, to begin my first priestly ministry. Having served this parish for a year and a half, I was sent to St Joseph’s Church, Medawachchiya, to serve as Assistant Parish Priest. After a year of service I was then transferred to St Joseph’s Church, Nilavelli, Trincomalee. It was during that time that the civil war was at its peak and it was an experience. As I was working for these people, I developed a pain on my spine which kept troubling me to a great extent. Eventually it was very aggravated and severe and I began to experience the symptoms of paralysis.
On 27 th April 2009, I had a consultation with the neuro surgeon, Dr Colvin Samarasinghe, and he requested that I have a MRI scan done. This revealed a disc prolapse on my spine and due to that a nerve compression. The doctor advised that I have to undergo an immediate surgery. On 01 st May 2009 I was admitted to the Nawaloka Hospital. Before the surgery I told all those who were around me that I am going to have a personal encounter with God. I still do not know what prompted me to say that. On 2 nd May at 09.00a.m. I was taken to the operating theatre for the surgery. The surgery was a success but the doctors told me that had I delayed by a week I would have had to spend the rest of my life in a wheel chair. A few days later, I started to have my regular meals with clear liquids and it was on 08 th of May around 03.00p.m it all happened. That particular evening all what happened lead me to begin this Prayer Ministry.
As I was on my sick bed I was praying due to fear, anxiety and uncertainty, I was praying and remembering the merciful love of Jesus and His kindness towards people and how he cured the sick when all of a sudden, I felt something was going to happen. At that moment I felt that my whole body was vibrating and could feel deep within me that something happening. I began to cry and prayed loud and as my tears fell I could see the face of Jesus, the face of the Risen Lord, who was looking at me. When this happened there were three persons around my bed. They too witnessed this and held me down. When I saw the face of Jesus I began to speak to Him and the dialogue continued for approximately half an hour. I asked Him as to what this appearance meant and as to why He came to show His face to me. Jesus prompted me that hereafter that this should be the mission that I should carry out – the mission of healing. I cannot explain all this and put it in words because it is an experience. His face was so brilliant and a strong light emanating and His eyes were filled with love, mercy and compassion and He could heal this whole world with just one glance. The dialogue continued. I clearly told my inability, my unworthiness to carry out a worthy mission such as this. But He insisted. He said “don’t worry, I am with you, you will have to do this.” I complied His request and at the same time I asked Jesus to make use of my hands as instruments to impart peace, happiness and healing to people who are coming to me and it was then that Jesus anointed my hands with His love. I felt renewed, born again and I replied “yes, I will do your will Lord.” From that moment, and as you read this testimony, Jesus has kept His promise guiding me and I started my journey and still continuing to carry out His mission. Every day I experience His guidance, powerful presence and He is leading through the lives of people, the broken, marginalised and outcast. I know that the biggest miracle that God can do in one’s life is to have in that person experience an inner conversion and this I experience when I hear confessions.
My words fall short of what I want to express but all that I could do is to thank and praise my loving Jesus who came in search of me and showed His love and called me to this ministry. As it is written in Jeremiah5:1 “before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you, I appointed you a prophet to the nations”
So, this is my testimony of all that happened to me that evening. I still can’t explain it all. But one thing I am convinced that the Risen Lord that whom you and I believe is with us, in us and around us and is always looking at us wherever we are or whatever we may do.
I am convinced and believe that the will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you.
God bless you!