Chennai, Jan 29 (IANS): The Sri Lankan government has appealed to donors to support the Katchatheevy St Antony's Church festival held annually at the Katchatheevu island.
While Katchatheevu was ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974, people from India are allowed to attend the annual festival of the church.
However, the Jaffna district administration informed that only a total of 8,000 people would be allowed to participate in the church festivals to be held on March 3 and 4. Of these, only 3,500 people will be from Tamil Nadu.
While food and other refreshments were provided in the earlier years, due to economic instability and financial crisis, there will be no food provision this year. However, breakfast will be provided on March 4 to the devotees and pilgrims who reach St Antony's church for prayers.
The festival will commence on March 3 after a flag hoisting which will be followed by a holy mass. The Way of the Cross will be conducted around the church and a car procession will be taken out.
The conclusion of the festival will be on March 4 with a grand Eucharist celebration in which priests from both India and Sri Lanka would participate.
Jaffna District Collector Sivapathasundaram said that the government has decided to limit the number of participants to 8,000 and that pilgrims will have to make their own arrangements for food and other essentials.
He appealed to interested patrons to provide donations to the Katchatheevu festival.