The district administration was likely to convene a meeting next week, with representatives of various security agencies to work out the modalities for the pilgrimage, he said.For the first time, Sivaganga Diocese Bishop Rev Soosai Manickam would be joining the pilgrimage following an invitation from the Bishop of Jaffna Diocese, which organised the festival, he added.The pilgrims would leave on March 11 morning from Rameswaram fishing jetty and take part in the Way of the Cross procession, jointly taken out by Indian and Sri Lankan pilgrims, followed by the mass, the same day evening. After the feast mass on March 12, the pilgrims would return, he also added. This year, at least 4,500 were expected to participate, he said. The Rameswaram fishermen had offered to donate a flag mast and monstrance at a total cost of Rs. 2.40 lakh to the new church for the annual festival and were awaiting response from the Jaffna Diocese, he said. (Colombo Gazette) Last year, the festival was held on February 20 and 21, and 3,249 pilgrims, including 694 women and 154 children, participated in it. He said 147 mechanised boats, including two spare boats, had been registered for the pilgrimage and each boat could carry 30 pilgrims and five crew members.On the demand for allowing country boats to take part in the pilgrimage, he said Sri Lankan Navy and Indian authorities were against carrying pilgrims in country boats for security reasons. A record 5,015 Indian pilgrims, including about 2,000 from Rameswaram island have registered for the two-day annual St Antony’s Church festival in Katchatheevu, scheduled for March 11 and 12, Rev Fr. Sagayaraj, Verkodu Parish Priest and chief coordinator of Indian pilgrimage, said.The response was overwhelming as the pilgrims wanted to visit and offer worship at the new church, which was inaugurated on December 23, 2016, The Hindu newspaper reported.
There will be some high stakes on the line when the Brock Badgers and McMaster Marauders tangle at the Meridian Centre Wednesday night (Feb. 24) .Neil Lumsden, Brock University’s new Director, Athletics and Recreation and a Canadian Football hall-of-famer, has challenged McMaster University Athletic Director Glen Grunwald, a former NBA general manager, to a friendly wager over which school will finish the two games with a higher combined point total.If the Badgers score more points than the Marauders in the two games, Grunwald will have to wear a Brock Badgers jersey to work at McMaster Friday. Should the Marauders win the bet, Lumsden will wear a McMaster uniform to work at Brock Friday. If either team sweeps both games, the losing athletic director will have to wear the full uniform — jersey and shorts — to work Friday. We’re going to be perfect hosts and offer them a wonderful experience at the Meridian Centre, until tipoff.“We’re going to be perfect hosts and offer them a wonderful experience at the Meridian Centre, until tipoff,” joked Lumsden. “We’ve already started looking for a jersey that will fit Glen since he’s such a tall guy. I think red will look good on him.”For the teams themselves, the games are important to the standings and the Ontario University Athletics playoff picture.The women’s game, taking place at 5:30 p.m., will see the 10-7 Badgers taking on the 13-4 Marauders, who are ranked eighth in Canada in the Canadian Interuniversity Sports Top 10. McMaster is coming off of a three-game winning streak while the Badgers have won two in a row.“From our own prep, we want to treat it like any other game. But outside of the game it’s far more important because it’s a bridge between Brock University and the community,” said women’s coach Si Khounviseth. “That’s what makes it great.”The men’s game takes place at 7:30 p.m. with the Badgers and Marauders both coming into the matchup with equal 12-5 OUA records. The two teams have been back and forth in the CIS rankings this season, but McMaster currently sits fifth with Brock sitting seventh.“February for us has been about preparing for the playoffs, and this is another game we use for that,” said men’s coach Charles Kissi.This season has seen a remarkable turnaround for the Badgers men’s team.“We’ve won more games this year than we did the two previous seasons,” Kissi said. “We went from not making the playoffs for two years to being nationally ranked and now making the playoffs.”Wednesday’s games mark the second time this season Brock University has hosted basketball home games at the downtown St. Catharines Meridian Centre. Located right next door to the school’s brand new and state-of-the-art Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, the Meridian Centre can hold up to 3,500 fans for basketball games.Tickets for the doubleheader are still available at ticketmaster.ca for $10 including all service fees. There are also $35 courtside seats available. Free tickets for Brock student are available through the Walker Complex welcome desk.