Oblates of Jaffna Province chalked another mile stone in their committed service for the enhancement of Education when they inaugurated the Aquinas affiliated branch School at the Oblate Institute for Religious Studies (OIRS) in Mannar. OIRS, known as Gnanodhayam (Dawn of Wisdom) was founded in Mannar in 2002 in a land procured by the late veteran Polish missionary, Rev. Fr. Cierpka OMI. Rev. Fr. Mathuni OMI contributed generously using his good office to put up the initial establishment. For the past sixteen years it has been serving as a center for formation of candidates to religious life, education of children and youth, animation of various groups and a much sought after resource center for various training programmes in Mannar. In July 2017, the Provincial Superior of Jaffna signed an agreement with the Archbishop of Colombo, His Eminence Malcom Cardinal Ranjith who is the Chancellor of Aquinas University College, in order to affiliate OIRS to Aquinas University College to conduct, as a first step, Diploma classes in English.
The official Inauguration of this affiliation was celebrated in a mass scale at Gnanaodhyam on the 17th of March, 2018. Gracing this occasion as the Chief Guest, Rt. Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Fernando, the Bishop of Mannar hailed the contribution of the Oblates for the Education in Sri Lanka and extended his fullest support for the future expansion of OIRS as a full-fledged Higher Education Center. Very. Rev. Fr. Susith Silva, the Rector and the Vice Chancellor of Aquinas University College expressed the willingness of His Eminence the Archbishop of Colombo and the readiness of the Aquinas University College to extend their service further to the North. The Mannar Zonal Director of Education, Mrs. Suganthy Sebastian with accurate statistics proved why this Inauguration deemed to be appropriate and necessary. The students who are enrolled to follow this Diploma Courses coloured the event with their soothing performances. Fr. Jude Carowf OMI, the liason-person for Aquinas Branch School in Mannar, with the help of the Pre-Novitiate Community and the Oblates in charge of other feeding centers, has organized this event a success.
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