History

On 13th September 1834, six Catholics of St.Sylvester’s Church (presently St.Anthony’s), Mt.Lavinia came to Dehiwala searching for a land to build a church and Muhandiaram B. Bastion Mendis donated half an acre of land to them. On 2nd February 1835 the foundation stone was laid and the church was dedicated to Our Lady of Voyage by Msgr. Rosarian Dias on 4th February. In 1837, three Bharata traders gifted a statue of Our Lady which was from Tutican, South India. In 1880, the Cadjan structure was set on fire by an unknown group. The entire church was destroyed except the statue of Our Lady made out of Kohomba wood. In 1881, five members of the congregation mortgaged their possessions and obtained a loan to build the new church. Finally, on 30th June 1883, the newly built church was consecrated by Rt. Rev. Dr. Clement Dagnani O.S.B, the Bishop of Colombo.

 On 26th January 1908, Dehiwala was declared a parish with a resident priest.  Later, the dedicated parish priests, further developed the church, redesigning the sanctuary and built the belfry. It was in 1909 that the English medium school commenced and it was blessed by Archbishop Coudert. In 1914 the Holy Family Order was invited to take over this school and now it is known as Holy Family Convent Dehiwala. During the Centenary celebrations in 1935 the Regimental Band of the Ceylon Light Infantry provides selected music items. Then in 1945 the Eucharistic Rally was held in a grand scale.In 1982, the Jesuit fathers took over the parish. The 150th jubilee was celebrated during their tenure. In 1992, the archdiocese took over the parish. In the year 1997, Infant Jesus Church, Nedimala and Thrithva Bhavana, Attidiya were initiated. The 175th jubilee was celebrated in 2011 and today, St. Mary’s parish has grown into a living and vibrant Christian community.