Printed Centenary Year Souvenir – Celebrating with Devotions

May 2nd, 2013 | By | Category: Events

Celebrating with devotions

The Centenary Year

(Dec 2012- Dec 2013)

The Guild of the

Immaculate Heart of Mary

St Joseph’s College – Colombo 10

8th December 2012



 The Guild of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Guild of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo 10, was established on December 8th 1913 and today we celebrate the beginning of the centenary year.

Very Rev. Fr. E. Nicolas, O.M.I., the Rector, initiated the movement and was formed with a modest enrollment of thirty five members, boys on the registers of the College.

The aims of the association are twofold: to promote the personal sanctification of its members and to work for the salvation of souls by praying, in union with the Blessed Virgin, for the conversion of sinners.

For this reason the Guild has been formally aggregated to the Arch-confraternity of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary established in the Church of our Lady of Victories, Paris. By virtue of this aggregation every member of the Guild is at the same time a member of this Arch-confraternity, sharing in its privileges and indulgences as well as in the prayers and good works of its millions of members.

Rev. Fr. A. Varnat, O.M.I. was the first Director of the Guild, but before a year had elapsed he was succeeded by Rev. Fr. J. M. Cajetan, O.M.I., (1914-1924) who laboured willingly and lovingly for the Guild, right up to the day of his death. It was he who organized the Retreats for the Old Boys under the auspices of the Guild.

The Very Rev. Fr. D. J. Anthony, O.M.I., assumed control of the Guild in May, 1924, and served as Director till December, 1940, when he had to relinquish his office on being appointed General Manager of Schools.

During his long tenure of office the Guild celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1938 with a membership of over 1,000 members.

His Directorship added new stores of religious inspiration, including the first Saturday Mass at the grotto, the Vespers of Our Lady, a torchlight procession of Lourdes and regular lectures.  A marble altar was established in recognition of his Guild directorship.

To the late Very Rev. Fr. M. J. LeGoc O.M.I., the Guild owes a debt that can never be liquidated as long as St. Joseph’s lasts, and the grotto, a testimony of his love and devotion to Our Lady.

The next Director of the Guild was the Very Rev. Fr. Peter A. Pillai, O.M.I., (brother of Rev. Fr Emmelianus and Rev. Fr. Cajetan) who took charge of the Guild when he became the Rector of the College 1941.

In 1942 in spite of the black-out and transport difficulties the Retreat was preached at St. Aloysius’ Seminary by Rev. Fr. J. Edamarran, S. J. and was followed with eager interest by a larger number of Guild members. The traditional procession to the grotto was not omitted. In 1943 and 1944, the Retreats were conducted at the College premises in Borella.

The Rectors Rev. Fr. Don Peter, and Fr. Emanual, have assisted the Guild in numerous ways. Thereafter Guild was carried on under the Directorships of late Frs. Justin Perera, Joe Nethasingha, Noel Perera,  Rev. Fr. Anselm Croos.

Devotions to our ‘Divine Mother are being carried out every First Saturday of the month at the College Grotto and in the Chapel. It is a solemn promise given by Our blessed Mother that she will assist everyone at the last moment who follow the first Saturday devotions.”

It is our sincere Prayer that our Guild will go from strength to strength with the blessings of Our heavenly Mother for generations and generations in the years to come.



The origins of the First Saturday Devotion

Christians have always honored the Blessed Virgin on Saturday because of her constant faith in Jesus on that first Holy Saturday before the Resurrection.

The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was first mentioned by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917. After showing the three children a vision of hell she said, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace… I shall come to ask for the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays…”


Rev. Fr. Le Goc. Servant of God

During Fr. Maurice Legoc’s tenure of office, there was emphasis of the science subjects in the curriculum, Fr. Legoc’s favourite subject was Botany. His own publication “Tropical Botany” was used as a text book in O’ Level classes in India and Sri Lanka. In 1930, Fr. Maurice Legoc introduced a scheme of scholarships to the under privileged students to extend the fruits of knowledge to the students in the outstations,

Fr. Maurice Le Goc also commenced:

(a) St. Joseph’s College south (St. Peter’s College 1922

(b) St. Paul’s College Waragoda (1935)

(c) St. John’s College, Dematagoda (1939)

On 19 March 1929, the foundation stone for the College Chapel was laid by the Archbishop of Colombo. The College Chapel is a fitting memorial to Fr. Maurice Legoc.

The southern end of the Primary building an exact copy of the Grotto in Lourdes was built.

In 1940, the Very Rev. Fr. Peter A. Pillai (fifth Rector) was appointed.


Rev. Fr. Peter Pillai we knew

Rev. Dr. Peter A Pillai OMI, MA, MSc, PhD, DD wished that he  be called only as PA Pillai OMI. In 1936, the British press called him the most learned priest in the British Empire. His elder brother Fr. Cadjetan Pillai, a teacher at St. Joseph’s died of plague whilst administering to the sick.

To fight against the twin evils of the day – 1930s – namely, injustice and exploitation, he created two journals, ‘Social Justice’ (English) and ‘Samaja Samaya’ (Sinhala). His campaigns and untiring efforts resulted in the enacting of the Shop and Office Workers’ Ordinance, Wages Boards Ordinance, Employees Provident Fund Act, Industrial Disputes Act etc. all in the field of Labour or Industrial Law.

He also advocated and expounded the theories of worker participation in management, profit-sharing, better housing and living conditions for the working class. In 1940 Rev. Fr. Dr. Pillai was appointed as the first Sri Lankan Rector of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, the premier, Catholic Collegiate school in the island which post he held with great acceptance and distinction for 21 years till 1961.

Highly concerned with molding the character of youth besides serving in some government commissions, he was the president of the Headmasters’ Union, member of the University of Ceylon Senate, founder of the Catholic Students’ Federation, the Graduate Federation, the Catechetical Institute, the Xaverian Movement – and the Aquinas College of Higher Studies.

His championing of social reforms resulted in bringing to statute books  welfare legislations such as the National Housing Act, Debt Conciliation Board Ordinance and Land Redemption Act.

He founded the legion of Mary, the Catholic Social Guild and many other such associations.

He passed away untimely in 1964, at the age of only 60 years.


An invitation to join the Guild

As a devoted member of the guild you are invited to share the graces and the promises made by our Lady, Mother Mary to bring along your friends as well as Josephians present and past to join the guild and spread the message by joining the Guild and be a member to devote yourself to our Mother Mary, by attending the Holy Mass every first Saturday of the month 8.30 am at the Grotto.


St Joseph’s College Colombo  Colombo 10


College Anthem –White & Blue

        First verse

Fruits of virtue and of knowledge, here we gather peace and power
Symbolized in yonder banner, floating over St Joseph’s Tower
White and blue it’s mystic colours, harmonizing strong and clear
Stolen from the distant mountains, from the wild waves breaking near,
From the wild waves breaking near, Harmonizing strong and clear,
White and blue our mystic colours, Till the mountain disappear


Fourth verse

Where Our Lady, queen of Heaven, deigned on earth to reappear
In the grotto o’er torrent, from the mountains rising near
White and blue her robe and girdle, Lily white her mantle too
Then we’ll wear our lady’s colours, Dear St Joseph’s white and blue
Then hurrah for white and blue, Then hurrah for white and blue
Still we’ll wear Our Lady’s Colours, Dear St Joseph’s White and Blue



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