“We adore and believe in One Cod. The saints who dedicated their lives for the sake of the Lord and His Church are honoured and revered. They intercede for us and fulfill our needs and aspirations. Amidst these saints, St. Anthony, prominently excels, to gain devotion of the mass majority of the faithful. This is vividly evident by the tens of thousands of devotees who flock to the shrine, day in and day out and more so every Tuesday. The non- Catholics too are attracted in reverence, which is a striking phenomenon” said His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, in his homily, when His Eminence blessed and declared open the new museum at St. Anthony's Shrine at Kochchikade on January 13, 2013.
The museum which will treasure the sacred relics of St Anthony, would reflect and manifest the miraculous powers, and the sacredness of his life. May the faithful be convinced and enlightened to be better Catholics, was the prayerful wish expressed by His Eminence.
The Administrator of the Shrine, Rev. Fr. Clement Rozairo said, that this dream of a museum came true, through the unstinted support and generous contributions of the vast majority, thronged to the Shrine each passing day. He wished that many more would discover their faith in God, through the exhibits on display. Many religious dignitaries from Italy were present at the inauguration of this first museum for St. Anthony in Sri Lanka. Besides the Cardinal, His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, the Apostolic Nuncio in Sri Lanka, Rev. Fr. Mario Mingardi, the Rector of the Basilica in Padua, his predecessor Rev. Fr. Eugo Paolo Poiana, Mons Reali Gino, other religious from Italy, the Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo, together with a large of faithful devotees were present at the ceremony.
Amidst the distinguished guests of honour, was First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and the Sri Lanka Navy Commander, Admiral Jayantha Colombage who graced the occasion.
The Administrator of St. Anthony's Shrine of Padua, presented some invaluable relics to be exhibited initially, with the assurance of many more to follow. A life size statue of St. Anthony which was also a gift from Padua, was brought in procession into the midst of the gathering, at the commencement of the celebration.